Five quick hits: Ash Barty ‘broken’ for injured Alex de Minaur as Olympic dream looks over

Australia World

Alex de Minaur’s withdrawal from Wimbledon left Australian fans shattered but Ash Barty is convinced brighter days are ahead for her compatriot, even if he is forced to miss the Paris Olympics.

Here are the main talking points from day 10 at Wimbledon. 

1. Barty offers advice to de Minaur

Man playing tennis

Ash Barty is confident de Minaur will rebound once he is fully fit.(AP: Alberto Pezzali)

Ash Barty worked out how to navigate the highs and lows during her stunning career, which is why she is well-placed to give de Minaur advice on how to bounce back from his latest setback.

De Minaur was forced to withdraw from his quarterfinal against Novak Djokovic on Wednesday night, Australian time, due to a hip injury.

The men’s world number nine was devastated but Barty — who won the 2021 Wimbledon women’s title — had some words of wisdom for her compatriot.

“I’m broken for Alex,” Barty said.

“You could see how much it means to him. Like he said, this was the biggest match of his life. This was the opportunity that he had worked so hard for. To have something awful like that happen.

“But he is a resilient athlete. He’s a ripping guy. I know that this will be a challenge, but there will be a silver lining somewhere along the way that he’ll grow from, absolutely.

“He’s too intelligent and too driven and passionate and motivated to not learn from it and not grow from it.

“It hurts, though. Absolutely you can’t hide behind the fact that it’s awful. You have to be able to accept it.

“It’s okay to let it be flattening for a while but he will, I’m sure, be able to come back. When he’s back on the court and fit and healthy, he’ll be doing what he does best again.”

2. De Minaur in doubt for Paris Olympics

De Minaur faces the prospect of more heartbreak, with his Olympic dream now set to be dashed.

His race to get to the Paris Games — the tennis program starts in 17 days — looks likely to be a losing one, with de Minaur due to play both singles and doubles alongside Alexei Popyrin.

De Minaur says he will follow the advice from his support staff, but hinted the Olympics may be off-limits.

“They haven’t been able to give me a definite recovery time because it’s such a unique injury,” he said.

“Right now, it could be anywhere from three to six weeks out. It just depends how quickly my body heals.”

3. Barty shuts down comeback talk

Casey Dellacqua and Ash Barty playing together at 2024 Wimbledon.

Ash Barty (right) teamed up with Casey Dellacqua for a bit of fun at Wimbledon.(Getty Images: Clive Brunskill)

Three years to the day since she became Wimbledon singles champion, Barty made a hit-and-giggle, winning return to Centre Court.

Playing alongside her best mate Casey Dallacqua in the legends’ invitation doubles, Barty could not have looked happier.

The former world number one provided a few tantalising glimpses of the quality play we’ve all really been missing in her absence.

The Australians ended up beating Andrea Petkovic and Magdaléna Rybáriková 5-7, 6-3 (10-7) but, in truth, nobody cared about the score.

It was just uplifting to see the 28-year-old, now a mother of a one-year-old boy, having a bit of fun with her old pal.

“It felt incredible,” Barty said.

“Obviously, this is the place that holds some of my most cherished memories, and it’s really nice to be back with my best mate on the court. It’s pretty special.”

Later, when a reporter asked Barty about whether she would contemplate a return to professional tennis, she quickly put him right with a flowing backhand.

“You guys are killing me. I don’t know how much more. Anyone have a thesaurus for a word that I can use for ‘no’?” she sighed.

“No, mate. No, I’m not.”

4. Musetti credits his youngest fan for charge to semis

De Minaur’s exit gave seven-time champion Djokovic safe passage through to the semifinals where he will meet Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

Musetti moved into his first major semifinal by outlasting big-hitting American 13th seed Taylor Fritz 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

Seeded 25th at the All England Club, Musetti says his son Ludovico, who was born in March, has helped him rededicate himself to his sport and strive to no longer “throw away matches”.

“Instead of me teaching him, he’s teaching me … having a child makes you reflect a lot,” Musetti said.

“I feel more mature on the court, more mature off the court, and more mature as a player, as a father, as a person.”

Musetti has beaten Djokovic once in six matches.

He dragged the Serb to five sets in their most recent encounter at this year’s French Open.

5. Rybakina too focused to spot royal spectator

Queen Camilla watches Wimbledon from the Royal Box on Centre Court.

Queen Camilla watches on from the Royal Box on Centre Court.(Getty Images: Clive Brunskill)

A single-minded focus has helped drive fourth seed Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon campaign as she looks to add a second title after winning in 2022.

Rybakina reached the semifinals with a clinical 6-3, 6-2 victory over 21st seed Elina Svitolina.

The highest seed left in the women’s draw, Rybakina was so fixated with the task at hand that she did not even notice Queen Camilla watching on from the front row of the Royal Box on Centre Court.

“Oh, wow, I didn’t even see [her],” Rybakina said after walking off court.

“That’s amazing.”

Rybakina meets Barbora Krejčíková in the semis after the Czech recorded a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win over Latvian 13th seed Jeļena Ostapenko in a clash of former French Open winners.

AAP/Reuters

Posted 1h ago1 hours agoWed 10 Jul 2024 at 10:34pm, updated 33m ago33 minutes agoWed 10 Jul 2024 at 11:26pm