Ashleigh Barty names Ajla Tomljanovic as Australian Open title contender

Barty feels Tomljanovic is ready for a big Grand Slam breakthrough.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ashleigh Barty names Ajla Tomljanovic as Australian Open title contender

2022 Australian Open champion Ashleigh Barty is backing Ajla Tomljanovic for a major run at Melbourne Park. Tomljanovic, 29, finished the 2022 season on a career-high ranking of No 33 in the world. In 2021, Tomljanovic reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon before losing to Barty.

This year, Tomljanovic returned to the Wimbledon quarterfinal as she made the last-eight at The Championships before losing to eventual champion Elena Rybakina. “She's had an exceptional year and deserves to be higher-ranked than she is at the moment.

But you can't do anything about that situation. It is what it is and what's held her in really good stead is that she's accepted that and she's getting better and better and better. A couple of big quarter-finals in slams this year, she played some exceptional tennis and she's someone that Aussies can be very proud of,” Barty told the AAP.

Barty: Tomljanovic cannot be underestimated

At Melbourne Park, Tomljanovic has yet to make a notable result. In her first eight Australian Open main draw appearances, Tomljanovic never made it past the second round. But Barty insists that Tomljanovic has earned the respect of her WTA colleagues and no one will be taking her for granted at Melbourne Park.

When asked if Tomljanovic would soon be ready to contend for a Grand Slam title, Barty answered: “She already is. And that's the genuine feeling among the players. Certainly when I played Ajla, I knew I had to be at my absolute very best or she'd completely roll me.

And she's got that respect from everyone. She's earned that respect over a number of years in her turning up every single day. Meanwhile, Barty became the first Australian woman in 44 years to win the Australian Open. Two months after winning her third Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, Barty announced a shock retirement from tennis.

Ashleigh Barty Ajla Tomljanovic Australian Open