Barty to come out swinging against Kvitova
Aussie teenager Ashleigh Barty has vowed to come out swinging in her eagerly-awaited French Open debut against Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
With nothing to lose, precocious teenager Ashleigh Barty has vowed to come out swinging in her eagerly-awaited French Open debut against Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
After only turning 16 last month, Barty is the youngest player in the 128-strong women’s main draw at Roland Garros.
The Queensland wildcard has been earmarked for stardom from a young age and enters her showdown with the Czech fourth seed as a reigning Wimbledon champion herself.
Barty lifted the junior trophy at the All England Club last year at just 15 and considers her match-up with Kvitova as an opportunity rather than a daunting draw.
“It certainly isn’t an easy debut, but I think I am going to gain some very valuable experience,” Barty said.
“Obviously all the pressure is on her, which allows me to go out there and have a real swing.
“I’m really excited to play and we will just have to wait and see what happens. I just want to go out there and have some fun.
“No doubt I will be a little nervous before the match, but I just want to try and play my best tennis and whatever will be, will be.”
Fellow Australian teenager Bernard Tomic is also experiencing an exciting first in Paris.
The 19-year-old is seeded – at No.25 – for the first time in his grand-slam career.
“It feels good,” Tomic said ahead of his first-round encounter with Austrian qualifier Andreas Haider-Maurer.
“I’m playing good. I’ve had a great claycourt season so far so hopefully I can play well here in Paris.”
Should he win, Tomic would play the victor of the all-Colombian match-up between Alejandro Falla and Santiago Giraldo for a likely third-round showdown with fourth seed Andy Murray.
But having lost both his previous first-round matches in Paris, Tomic was reluctant to look ahead to Murray.
“Hopefully I can win my first round and then think about getting to the third round if I do,” he said.
Veteran Lleyton Hewitt had a similar mindset going into his opening match on Monday against Slovenian qualifier Blaz Kavcic.
The 31-year-old was more concerned about his body coping with its first competitive outing since undergoing foot surgery in February than a possible second-round clash with world No.1 Novak Djokovic.