Aussie Ash Barty has given a response of pure class when asked about her recent COVID-19 immunisation.
Barty received questions about her vaccine during her post-victory press conference in Stuttgart, having booked her place in the quarter-finals of the WTA clay-court tournament in Germany.
The world No. 1 was among the leaders in the tennis establishment calling for the Tour to be suspended in the wake of the pandemic and sat out the 2020 WTA Tour rather than risk putting her team in harms way travelling all over the world.
She revealed Wednesday she went to extraordinary lengths to avoid jumping the queue for the vaccine — or using her position as a tennis star to receive preferential treatment in the global vaccine roll out.
Barty secured her first victory on European clay since her famous Roland Garros triumph, 21 months ago defeating Germany’s Laura Siegemund in her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix debut.
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But it is her form off the court that has impressed fans the most.
Barty revealed in the press conference she eventually took the opportunity to receive the Johnson & Johnson jab at the Charleston Open in the United States earlier this month after checking with officials that she was not taking away the opportunity for a member of the public to receive the inoculation.
“We were looking at different avenues to try and get vaccinated without jumping the queue in Australia,” she said, according to New York Times tennis correspondent Ben Rothenberg.
“To see what our options were and we weren’t able to get much of an answer before we left in March.
“We were able to get the vaccine, as were a lot of other players, through the Tour and that they had organised through a certain pharmacy that had extras, and that was important to me knowing that those who were the most vulnerable were able to get it first.
“It was nice to know that we have got that small layer of protection.”
The 24-year-old Australian sat out Roland Garros last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and Poland’s Iga Swiatek succeeded her as champion.
Barty earlier toppled 33-year-old Siegemund by winning all 24 points when she got her first serve into play, fending off a second-set surge to clinch the 84-minute victory.
It goes down as Barty’s first win on European clay since defeating Marketa Vondrousova to claim her maiden grand slam singles title in June 2019.
The top seed needed just 24 minutes to wrap up the first set.
“It was good to play on a new surface, the court was quite quick compared to what I am used to,” said Barty, who hit six aces in an impressive opening display.
It was an important rebound for Barty after she suffered a surprise upset loss to Spain’s Paula Badosa in Charleston — ending her eight match winning streak since the end of the Australian summer.
Barty had won eight straight matches since returning to the WTA Tour last month, including an impressive tournament victory at the Miami Open.
In Friday’s quarter-finals, Barty plays either Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, also a former Roland Garros winner, or former world number one Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.
Earlier this month, Barty claimed her second consecutive Miami Open title to retain her No. 1 WTA ranking.
The 2021 French Open will commence on Monday, May 24.
— with AFP