Ashleigh Barty's retirement 'not understandable' to Karolina Pliskova but suggests Australian may return
Former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova has returned to tennis recently after missing the Australian Open earlier this year due to a broken arm. She says she was "surprised and shocked" by Ashleigh Barty's retirement from the sport and will "miss her". Pliskova has also spoken about her comeback and how she is preparing for the clay swing.
'I'm actually not surprised that she's retiring' - Schett on Barty retirement
However, Henin returned to the tour a few years after retiring and former world No.1 Pliskova thinks Barty, who beat her in last year's Wimbledon final, may also be back.
“I understand everybody's different,” she told the WTA.
“For me, it's not understandable at all because I just like the game so much. But I understand somebody maybe suffers, somebody doesn't like to travel.
“She basically won everything that she wanted to win, I suppose maybe she had no motivation. If you hate this tennis life and it's not what you always wanted to do, I think it's good to stop.
“But I was surprised and shocked. I thought she was a really good No.1 for our sport and she was there for a while. Of course, now Iga [Swiatek, new world No.1] is a really good player, but I just thought Ashleigh was a good person and she had good charisma. I'm going to miss her.
“But you never know. I think maybe she's going to come back. And then she's just going to be 27.”
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Pliskova missed the Australian Open after suffering a broken forearm in training during the off-season.
On her return to action last month she lost her opening matches in Indian Wells and Miami, but picked up her first win of the season in Charleston this week.
The two-time Grand Slam finalist is hopeful that with more matches under her belt she will soon find her best level again.
“I feel good. I have to say the wrist is quite holding up. I didn't really expect it because I didn't really practice fully. I would normally practise for a month but I just had a couple of days of really good practice before coming to Indian Wells. The serve was the biggest issue. But yeah, I think things are going quite well.
“I just try to take the positives out of it, that I'm able to play after a couple of months. It's been too long for me because with the off-season together, I missed four or five months.
“I know I'm not the player which can have five months at home and then I come in and win a tournament. I need some time to go through the feelings and the matches. I know it's going to take time, but just happy to be back.”
Pliskova has been ranked in the top 10 since 2015 and might have been among the contenders to challenge for her first major at the Australian Open if she was healthy.
“I was quite pumped,” she added.
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“I thought I could actually have a good start, and normally I always play well and Australia. So I was super sad about this. If it was Indian Wells and Miami I would be OK. But Australia, I missed it.
“But anyway, it is how it is. I just tried to keep things together and try to entertain myself. It was also nice to be home. I'm not really a home person. So it's not I would want to be home. I would travel a bit to not be in one place all the time. I also had Covid. So I was like, OK, everything is happening to me now!
“So I hope all the bad things are now gone and the good things can come. It was tough because people who follow tennis or me, they know I don't really have injuries. Even if I feel something, I still play. I never skip anything, not even practice or a tournament.
“The only break I had was this Covid break and I don't think that helped me. This injury was a bit more serious because I could not use my arm. I had a cast for a month or two. So it was quite a difficult time.”
With her big serve and powerful groundstrokes, Pliskova’s game has largely seemed suited to hard courts rather than clay.
However, in 2019 she won the Italian Open on clay and she also made the final last year, losing 6-0 6-0 to Iga Swiatek.
“I just want to see how things will go on clay,” she said.
“If I have a couple of matches in a row, we'll see if it [the arm] is going to be OK, but I think it should be fine now.
“I don't see it as bad luck at all because there is a lot worse, especially when you see what is happening now in Europe. Maybe this was bad luck because it's not a tennis injury. This was really a stupid injury.”
'I'm so ready' - Emotional Barty announces retirement from tennis at 25
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