Ash Barty has again received the highest possible praise for a tennis player – being compared to Roger Federer.
The Australian consolidated her status as the best tennis player of the moment with a dominant victory at the Australian Open last month.
It was Barty’s third Grand Slam title and she became only the fifth active player – after Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams to win a major on all three surfaces.
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Barty has well and truly earned praise from her peers, with several tennis stars revealing they are impressed with her composure on the court and struggle to find ways to beat her.
The 25-year-old has even drawn comparisons to Federer as an equally fluid mover who can slice and dice opponents with his versatile all-court game.
Spain’s world number 5 Paula Barbosa recently described Barty’s level of play as “incredible” and compared his fluidity on the pitch to Federer’s in his pomp.
“I said the other day to my coach when she won the tournament (the Australian Open), I said to her, ‘She’s very good, but I want to play against her again. I want to see what it does,” Barbosa said over the weekend, as quoted by Eurosport.
“She makes everything easy. Difficult matches, she makes things easier. I just watch and watch her. It’s incredible. For me, she is very similar on the male side with (Roger) Federer.
“She does everything, like, very fluidly and very easily. But, yeah, I think she’s everyone’s target.
“She is the best and she shows that she is the best in every tournament. It’s incredible.”
This isn’t the first time Barty has been placed in the same class as Federer. At the Australian Open, four-time Grand Slam winner Jim Courier said his backhand slice was even better than the Swiss maestro’s.
“Ash’s slice technique is arguably the best backhand slice technique in the world, period,” Courier said.
“Men’s tennis, women’s, whatever. It’s spectacular. Roger Federer, if you’re back in Switzerland, yeah that’s right, I said it mate. She might be better than yours.
“I’m an Ash backhand slice fanboy.”
Seven-time Swedish Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander compared Barty’s dominance in women’s tennis to Federer and predicted her competitors would chase her for years.
“She can win 10 more slams in my book,” Wilander told Eurosport at the Australian Open.
“She’s going to take the women’s game to the next level because we’re not talking about a Serena Williams who just blows you off the court.
“With Ash Barty, you’re going to have this problem that she takes tennis to the next level, just like Roger Federer did.
“She can win all four Grand Slams. I haven’t seen a style that goes to another on a specific surface, I don’t see a surface that bothers her.
“She’s going to solve problems, she’s going to have that serve, that sliced backhand, so she’s everything to me.”
Barty has extended his lead in the rankings as world No. 1 and her rivals praised her incredible performance under pressure at the Australian Open.
“I’m very happy for her,” said two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza.
“I think she’s showing a very calm and very solid No.1.
“When it comes to tennis, we all see that she is very talented, but she takes it in a very mature, very stable way.
“Sometimes it’s hard for all that pressure, to be home. Yeah, I’m happy. I think she deserved it.”
Defending French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova says Barty is setting an extremely high standard in the women’s game.
“It was amazing,” Krejcikova said of Barty’s Australian Open triumph.
“I was watching the final. I think it’s really good for her. I really admire her because she is a very good girl, a nice girl off the pitch, but also on the pitch she is a very tough opponent.
“I think for most of us, for most girls, I think she can be a good example to go higher, to finally try to beat her.
“I think she deserves it. She works really hard. She belongs where she is right now.
World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka added: “She is amazing and she deserves it.
“She fights really hard and her game is really uncomfortable for most girls and she uses it really well. So she deserves it. »
Barty should return to court in Indian Wells next month in California, considered one of the biggest tournaments outside of the four Grand Slam tournaments.