How did Ash Barty react on court when she had to pull out of a Grand Slam event that many had favored her to win? Pretty much the way you’d think she would react: Stoically and unflappably, with little more than a quick wave as she made her undramatic exit from a nearly empty Court Philippe Chatrier on Thursday morning.
The top seed’s only, tiny show of emotion came at the end of the third game of the second set. Hampered by an injured left hip, she had dropped the first set to Magda Linette, 6-1. After going off court for a medical timeout, she had come back and hit a flurry of good shots. Had she been cured by the trainer’s magic fingers? Not quite. When Barty held serve for 2-1, she frowned and looked down at the court. That was her way of saying that her Roland Garros, and her run of excellent play this spring, was over. A few minutes later, she shook hands with Linette, who moved into the third round with a 6-1, 2-2 [ret] win.
Off court, there was more emotion, and frustration.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Barty said. “I mean, we’ve had such a brilliant clay-court season and to kind of get a bit unlucky with timing more than anything to have something kind of acute happen over the weekend, and just kind of run out of time against the clock.
“It won’t take away the brilliant three months we have had, as much as it hurts right now.”