Ashleigh Barty plays without fear and is looking unstoppable says Annabel Croft ahead of the Madrid Masters final on Saturday.
Barty will take on Aryna Sabalenka for the Madrid title, after an impressive week where she beat current French Open title holder Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova.
Despite missing the 2020 clay court season due to the COVID pandemic, the world number one has now won 16 matches in a row on clay, going back to her 2019 season where she won Roland Garros.
Since coming back to tennis in 2021, Barty has won the Yarra Valley Classic, the Miami Open and the Stuttgart Open and former player, now tennis analyst, Annabel Croft believes she is in formidable form.
“If you can play without fear of what the consequences are, that’s a whole different mindset. And you know she’s [Barty] been able to do that,” Croft told GiveMeSport Women.
“And she’s such a deep thinker on the court, I mean when you watch what kind of tennis player she is, she’s such a creative artist on the court and she disrupts the opponent’s rhythm with many different layers to what she brings.
“She’s got that slice backhand and she’s got the most stunning cross-court forehand with a lot of pace and spin on it that kind of rays off the surface and travels away from opponents.”
Croft says she believes its not just Barty’s physical ability but also her mental strength that sets her apart from her competitors.
“She hardly played any matches in 2020, compared to a lot of them that ended up playing whatever was left to scoop up on the tour, but here she is starting stronger than anybody.
“So it’s extraordinary that she’s been able to do that, but I think so much of that is about your mindset and where you’re at.
“Clearly she’s in great physical shape and it hasn’t taken much to sort of turn the key and off she’s run, and now she’s looking quite unstoppable at the moment.”
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