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'My heart says Ashleigh Barty will win the Australian Open,' says former world number four

Ashleigh Barty in action at Australian Open

Tennis analyst and former British number one Tim Henman has tipped home-grown hero Ashleigh Barty to win this year's Australian Open.

Barty has maintained the world number one position in women's tennis due to protected ranking despite not picking up a racket for almost a year.

The Australian chose to sit out most of the 2020 season due to health and safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic and many believed it would affect her game.

But the 24 year old returned to court in February 2021 immediately winning the Yarra Valley Classic and is due to play 25th seed Karolina Muchova in the Australian Open quarterfinals tomorrow.

Asked who he thinks will win the Australian Grand Slam, Henman replied, "If I had to name one, with my heart I'd say Ashleigh Barty.

"I look at some of the Australian players male or female that haven't won in Australia, whether you talk about Pat Rafter, Leighton Hewitt, Pat Cash, Sam Stosur, it would be an amazing story" Henman told Eurosport.

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"Especially with the challenges they've had in Melbourne, in Australia, to have Barty win it, would be amazing."

Henman also shared his views on Serena Williams who will face Simona Halep in the quarterfinals.

"I don't think Serena will win. It's not going to be through lack of effort, I just think the competition is getting better and better all the time.

"It can't be any easier at the age of 39, and it could easily be a bit of a psychological hurdle, having lost in four major finals trying to break the record."

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