• Ash Barty reacts during her match against Magda Linette on day five of the French Open at Stade Roland Garros. (Sipa USA Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/S)Source: Sipa USA Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/S
A hip injury proved too much for the World Number 1, who made the 'heartbreaking' decision after losing the first set to Poland's Magda Linette.
4 Jun 2021 - 10:29 AM  UPDATED 4 Jun 2021 - 10:30 AM

Ever the optimist and somehow finding a smile to mask the heartbreak, Ash Barty says she's convinced there'll be a silver lining to her injury-stricken French Open exit.

The world No.1 admitted it had been "brutal" and "tough to accept" that her dazzling clay-court season ended in such anti-climax on Court Philippe-Chatrier, having to retire with injury on Thursday at the very scene of her greatest triumph two years ago.

Down 6-1, 2-2 against Poland's Magda Linette, the 2019 champ looked dejected as she decided it was "unsafe" to carry on and possibly exacerbate a debilitating condition that had reduced her to a stilted shadow of her dynamic self.

But even with question marks now hanging over her chances of competing in the English grass-court season, Barty believed something good would come out of her second-round exit.

"I've had my fair share of tears this week. It's all good. Everything happens for a reason. There will be a silver lining in this eventually," she said.

"Once I find out what that is, it'll make me feel a little bit better - but it will be there, I'm sure."

As Barty and her team try to negotiate her current physical woes, they take some comfort in remembering what she's achieved on her exhausting US/Europe tour over the past two-and-a-half months.

She won two titles in Miami and Stuttgart, made another final in Madrid and had a stretch of clay-court mastery that underlined her world No.1 status leading up to Roland Garros.

These were considerable achievements Barty could cling to.

"It's heartbreaking ... but it won't take away the brilliant three months that we have had, as much as it hurts right now," she said.

"We've had such a brilliant clay-court season, and to get a little bit unlucky with the timing of this injury, with something acute happening over the weekend and just running out of time, it's disappointing.

"But what happened today and this week here in Paris won't take away from what we've achieved - we have had a brilliant, brilliant time."

The real problem, though, remains that she's still not sure exactly what injury she's dealing with.

"It's a completely new injury, and something that I've never experienced before," said Barty, who reckoned the hip problem had made it hugely difficult to both serve with her usual sharpness and move fluently without pain.

"Even chatting with my physio, not something she has seen regularly either," Barty said.

"So we've been consulting with people all over the world to try and give us some insight into what the best ways to manage it are, to handle it, and I'm confident we do have a plan.

"It's just that we ran out of time here, which sucks.

"It's disappointing but not panic stations.

"We know what's going on. We just need time to manage it to get back on the court as quickly as we can."

Barty battles through to French Open second round
The World No. 1 fought off a hip injury and a tough Croatian opponent to win in three sets.