Former world No. 1 Martina Navratilova has tipped Ashleigh Barty to finish 2022 ranked at No. 1 in the world.
World No. 1 Barty played just 13 tournaments in 2021 but won five titles, with her biggest victory coming at Wimbledon.
“At the end of 2022, I would be hard-pressed to pick somebody over her,” Navratilova told the WTA about Barty holding onto the world No. 1 spot, as quoted on Tennishead.
“She’s the most complete player out there. She’s also well-rested and has had time to improve her game even more.
“So everybody’s behind, and it’s going to be hard for those nipping at her heels to catch up.
“Can anybody be healthy enough, consistent enough to take away the number one ranking?
“And play better than her for the entire year? If they can, I’ll take my hat off. But I don’t see that happening if she’s healthy.”
Barty remains humble
“Being the world No. 1 is something I am very proud of, but my ranking doesn’t change the way I am,” Barty said.
“I try and be a good person and do the right thing, regardless of the number next to my name.”
It was a third consecutive year-end No. 1 finish for Barty.
“I am proud I was able to finish the year at No. 1, especially after the challenging and unpredictable season,” related Barty.
“Being away from home for so long was really tough for not only me but my whole team, everyone made sacrifices which I’m very grateful for. We went into 2021 knowing it was going to be an adventure and it definitely was, I wouldn’t change it.”
After suffering a shock third round loss at the US Open, Barty decided to return to Australia.
Barty rested well before starting her preparation for the 2022 season.
Barty had a strong offseason and her big goal will be to win the Australian Open.