Ashleigh Barty to lead Australia tennis team at Tokyo Olympics

Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty is set to lead Australia's 11-member tennis team at the Tokyo Olympics, it was announced on Tuesday.

Ashleigh Barty in action (Credit: Volvo Car Open)

Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty is set to lead Australia’s 11-member tennis team at the Tokyo Olympics, it was announced on Tuesday. This was announced hours before Barty’s scheduled first-round match at Wimbledon against Carla Suarez Navarro.

Former US Open champion Sam Stosur was selected to play singles and doubles in her fifth Olympics. Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur and John Millman were among the men selected for the Australian team.

“I think making your first Olympic team, particularly as an Australian, we have such a rich history and the Olympics is something I’ve always dreamt of and obviously super excited to get out there and represent the green and gold,” Barty said in a statement.

“It’s a massive united team and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Some notabke players in the sport won’t be part of the Tokyo Games. Heavy restrictions will be imposed on athletes and foreign fans have been barred.

Serena Williams has already said that she will not be part of the USA team for the event.

On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem also have said they will skip the trip to Japan, where the Olympics open on July 23. Roger Federer said he will take a decision only after Wimbledon ends.

The Olympics were last year postponed by 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Excited to represent Australia’: Ashleigh Barty

Barty won the French Open and the season-ending WTA Finals in 2019 but missed most of the 2020 season. She lost in the semi-final at the Australian Open but stayed at home during the pandemic.

She returned in time for the 2021 Australian Open, losing in the quarterfinals. But then retired from her second-round match at the French Open because of an injured left hip.

In Tokyo, she’s planning to play singles and partner Storm Sanders in the doubles competition.

“Any opportunity you get to wear the green and gold, I wanted to grab it with both hands,” she said.

“I’m fit, I’m healthy, I’m excited to play doubles with Storm, she’s a childhood friend of mine and we’ve played a lot together. So to be able to live out this dream with her is really, really special.”

Sportslumo Desk

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