Sport Tennis Confident and fit Ashleigh Barty is rarin’ to go for the crown at French Open
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Confident and fit Ashleigh Barty is rarin’ to go for the crown at French Open

Ashleigh Barty is fired up and ready to take on the world in Paris. Photo: AAP/Glenn Hunt
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Ashleigh Barty has declared she’s “as good as gold” ahead of her French Open tilt, waving away any fears a lingering arm injury will impact her on the Paris clay.

Queensland’s world No.8 opted to withdraw from the Strasbourg International ahead of the year’s second major with the injury she says she’s managed since she was 16.

But the 23-year-old said she was back to full fitness ahead of a Monday or Tuesday start, against American Jessica Pegula at Roland Garros.

“It needed a couple of days of treatment, a bit of structure in my practice and to monitor my load,” she said.

“You can’t do that during matches; it was important for me to get those couple of days to really knock it on the head early, but it’s good as gold now.”

It’s a niggle Barty is prepared to manage for the duration of her career, saying surgery or any alternative treatment method wasn’t in her long-term plans.

Barty arrives in Paris as one of the tour’s best performers in 2019, boasting a title in Miami, quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open and a faultless Fed Cup record en route to the final later this year.

Beaten by defending French Open champion Simona Halep in the Madrid quarters, where she teamed with Victoria Azarenka to win the doubles, Barty feels ready to contend on clay.

“I feel like I’m playing some of the best tennis I have in a long time, hopefully I can put it together this week,” she said.

World No.71 Pegula is a relative unknown to Barty, who could do worse than ask compatriot Samantha Stosur for some insight.

Stosur was impressive in her 6-3 6-1 defeat of the American in Strasbourg last Monday.

“She’s probably in career-best form, hits it hard and flat, but I’m sure Ash will do her research,” Stosur said of Pegula.

“Clay probably isn’t her (Barty’s) favourite surface … but I think deep down she knows that it doesn’t matter what surface it is, she’s a top 10 player.”

-AAP