The women’s game, in Mark Petchey’s opinion, needs “a terrific rivalry,” and he believes it would have one if Ashleigh Barty were still playing. The top-ranked player and overwhelming favorite everywhere she goes, Iga Swiatek, 21, has been completely dominant this year.
Barty, who won back-to-back championships at the Australian Open and Adelaide International to start the season, shockingly announced his retirement from tennis at the age of 25 in late March. Barty’s career-ending event was the Australian Open, but Swiatek’s supremacy began in February.
The sport is driven by rivalries. They ensure that there is a significant polarization of one large fan base against another, according to Petchey, who was quoted on Tennis365 as saying this. “A fantastic rivalry with a little bit of edge is what the women’s tour now lacks,” the author said.
Swiatek and Barty would have had a fierce competition, according to Petchey
Although there are plenty of talented players on the WTA Tour, Swiatek stands apart from the competition. “For this reason, I say I’m sorry Ash pulled up stakes, since I feel like that rivalry with Iga could’ve blossomed in that way.” Would it have been as heated as the rivalries between Rafa and Novak and Roger and Novak? Most likely not.
However, it would have been there, said Petchey. “When the draw is revealed before every major, indicating that you’re not looking forward to a particular matchup may affect the tour a little bit. Oh, anyone can win it! cannot be repeated.
Simply put, you’re not tagging anyone, and you’re not creating the conditions for an awesome event to occur—a charming little volcanic eruption at the tail end of a major. Because that will be a huge motivator for the WTA, they need some players to be a little more consistent and successful.