Barty could get to world No.1, says Woodbridge

Ashleigh Barty is being touted as a future world No.1 and French Open title force following her relentless march up the tennis rankings.

Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Todd Woodbridge, a nine-times doubles champion at the All-England Club, believes Barty has the weaponry to not only challenge for grand slam glory on grass but possibly even land a maiden major on the Paris clay this year.

Barty’s low-key celebration after winning the Miami Open crown, long regarded as the sport’s fifth major, has Woodbridge believing the 22-year-old could be on a journey all the way to the top.

‘‘She’s really comfortable with her results. She believes obviously that she’s good enough now to beat any player in the world,’’ Woodbridge said.

‘‘Her celebrations weren’t over the top last week. She could have really have gone a bit nuts over knowing she’d made the top 10.

‘‘But that didn’t happen. That to me is an indication that 'OK, I’m nowhere near what my goal is and I’m just taking each step now to becoming ever so closer to reaching whatever her goal might be, whether that’s to win a slam or potentially even get to No.1’.

‘‘They’re lofty goals but, gee, they look like they’re reachable.’’

After spearheading Australia’s Fed Cup semi-final against Belarus in Brisbane this month, Barty will launch her European clay-court campaign in Madrid from May 4 ahead of the French Open.

And after ending 2018 with title success in Zhuhai, then opening 2019 with runs to the Sydney final and Australian Open quarters before winning Miami, the new world No.9 suddenly finds herself within sight of the No.1 ranking.

‘‘The actual rankings points are pretty tight now. It’s less than 2000 points towards getting to No.1,’’ Woodbridge said.

‘‘Getting from 11 to nine was a big jump. Now getting from nine to three is not as much in terms of one more good result.

‘‘So she’s really knocking on that door of the top.

‘‘A junior Wimbledon champion at just 15, Barty’s old-school game is made for grass.

Woodbridge, though, says it’s also suited very much to clay, much like fellow Queenslander Samantha Stosur’s was.

‘‘Ash is a pure all-court player,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of people are putting Wimbledon as the slam she could win – and with her slice backhand and volley and her ability to get into net there, she’s obviously going to be a real force there.

‘‘But it’s funny that clay might be the one that people least expect her to win but it might be the one that actually opens up for her.’’

‘‘Her slice changes it up, the serve and forehand jumps it out wide, she can spin it up high. That’s what Stosur did so well and I actually think Ash has more time to open up and expose her opponents on clay.’’

AAP

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