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Ashleigh Barty delivers a win for the old warhorses

ANALYST
Feature
09 Jun 2019, 12:34 IST

Ashleigh Barty decimated Marketa Vondrousova in Saturday's final
Ashleigh Barty decimated Marketa Vondrousova in Saturday's final

Now that was precisely the type of performance a long-time tennis follower would have been hoping to see from a Simona Halep or Johanna Konta this week. Instead, it took Australian number one Ashleigh Barty to deliver the goods against the rising new stars of the women's game.

Barty, 23, is the latest entrant into the list of first-time Grand Slam champions. It's a list that has grown exponentially over the past few years and yet her win will not draw the type of shock reactions that were apparent after wins from Jelena Ostapenko or Naomi Osaka.

Barty had it coming. In fact, what her latest victory has done is something most of the top players have failed to do here at Roland Garros: reinstate the authority of the older crop of players on tour. Considering she's still only 23 herself, that might appear contradictory. But there's more to the story than what appears on the surface.

Barty's Grand Slam win represents bigger picture on women's tour

While it might have been amusing for newspapers and media outlets to announce the arrival of unheard young talents after they unexpectedly win a big tournament, it was becoming increasingly frustrating and tedious for long-standing fans.

A brief scroll down the comments section of any video from WTA's YouTube channel reveals fans' annoyance at the lack of depth in the women's game currently. The first 18 tournaments this year saw 18 different champions - Petra Kvitova's win in Stuttgart was the first instance of a repeat winner from a previous year.

While one can appreciate the depth, which has seen literally any player win big irrespective of their rankings or background, it was about time that we saw experience and years put in by some of the veterans on tour amount for something. Barty's win does precisely that.

Barty celebrates with her French Open title after a straight-sets victory over Vondrousova
Barty celebrates with her French Open title after a straight-sets victory over Vondrousova

She herself is a fresh face in comparison to the likes of Halep (27) and Kvitova (29) but nonetheless has put in ample time on tour to warrant respect. What's more rewarding than watching a player go through the journey from novice, learning and improving, on their way to achieving the type of success a Grand Slam champion is remembered for?

With wins over two highly-rated youngsters in Amanda Anisimova and Markets Vondrousova, Barty has delivered a win not just for herself - but all the veterans sweating it out on tour for years.

There are few natural gifts that can supplement the years of experience that one can extract from winning, losing and battling on court. Barty worked her way up to the top and after a two-year hiatus, the combination of her hard work paying off will make her first Grand Slam title all the more sweet.

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