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The single act that shows why Ash Barty is a next level champion

The single act that shows why Ash Barty is a next level champion

When asked about her recent COVID-19 immunisation, Aussie tennis star Ash Barty gave a response that impressed fans.

During her post-victory press conference in Stuttgart, after nabbing a spot in the quarter-finals of the WTA clay-court tournament in Germany, Barty received several questions about her vaccination.

She revealed the lengths she went to in order to avoid jumping the vaccine queue or using her tennis fame to receive preferential treatment in the roll-out of the vaccine.

Barty was also among the tennis leaders calling for the Tour’s suspension in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, sitting out the 2020 WTA Tour rather than risking the health of her team by travelling all over the world.

The world champion secured her first victory in Europe since her famous Roland Garros triumph, when she defeated Germany’s Laura Siegemund in her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix debut 21 months ago.

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As successful as she is on the court, it is her off-court behaviour that has fans impressed.

In the press conference, Barty revealed she eventually received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Charleston Open in the United States earlier this month. Before she did, she checked with officials to ensure she was not taking away the opportunity from a member of the public.

“We were looking at different avenues to try and get vaccinated without jumping the queue in Australia,” she said, according to Ben Rothenberg, tennis correspondent for the New York Times.

“To see what our options were and we weren’t able to get much of an answer before we left in March.”

“We were able to get the vaccine, as were a lot of other players, through the Tour and that they had organised through a certain pharmacy that had extras, and that was important to me knowing that those who were the most vulnerable were able to get it first,” she explained.

On receiving the jab, she said, “It was nice to know that we have got that small layer of protection.”

Sitting out Roland Garros last year due to the pandemic, the 24-year-old was succeeded by Poland’s Iga Swiatek as champion.

Prior to the press conference, she triumphed against 33-year-old Siegemund by winning all 24 points when she got her first serve into play, then fending off a second-set surge to secure victory in 84 minutes.

The win came as Barty’s first on European clay since defeating Marketa Vondrousova in June 2019, claiming her maiden grand slam singles title.

“It was good to play on a new surface, the court was quite quick compared to what I am used to,” Barty said, having hit six aces in her opening display.

Following her surprise loss to Spain’s Paula Badosa in Charleston that ended her eight-match winning streak, her most recent win was an important rebound.

In the upcoming quarter-finals, Barty will play Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, another former Roland Garros winner, or the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova, a former world number one.

Barty retained her No. 1 WTA ranking earlier this month following her second consecutive Miami Open title.

The 2021 French Open will commence on Monday, May 24.

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