The Nature Valley Open in Nottingham marks the beginning of the WTA season together with s-Hertogenbosch, gathering a strong field of players led by Caroline Garica, Donna Vekic, Maria Sakkari and Dayana Yastremska. The draw should have been stronger but Ashleigh Barty and Johanna Konta were forced to withdraw and delay the start of grass swing after making a great run in Paris.
The young Aussie was one of the dark horses at Roland Garros and she proved her quality and fantastic form in 2019, going all the way to becoming the first Australian Roland Garros winner since the early 70s. On her least favorite surface, Ashleigh showed brilliant skills and physical and mental strength after barely winning any match in Paris before, securing the proudest moment of her young career (she was unranked three years ago after leaving tennis for 18 months) and becoming world no.
2 on Monday. As was expected, Barty wasn't ready to defend the title in Nottingham in the following week after Paris and we can say the same for Johanna Konta, one of the best players on clay this spring! The Briton had never produced good results on the slowest surface before 2019 and she was one of the players to beat in the past two months, reaching the final in Rabat and Rome, followed by the semi-final campaign in Paris.
“Regretfully after speaking to my team, I have decided to take the difficult decision to withdraw from the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham. After a couple of weeks I spent here in Paris, my body is pretty exhausted from all the matches I have played.
Nottingham is one of my favorite events. The courts are wonderful so I’m disappointed not to be there this year, but I certainly look forward to seeing all the fantastic fans back there again next year,” Konta said.
“I am sorry to miss returning to Nottingham and the chance to defend my title. Nottingham is one of my favorite tournaments and a place that I hold fond memories of. I want to thank Rebecca James and her team for their support and wish them the best of luck for the week ahead. I hope to be back and start my grass season here next year,” Barty said.