By Martyn Herman
EASTBOURNE, England (Reuters) – New world number one Ashleigh Barty has suffered a pre-Wimbledon injury scare, withdrawn from this week’s Eastbourne grasscourt tournament with a recurrence of a right arm injury.
The 23-year-old became the first Australian woman to reach the top of the WTA rankings for 43 years on Sunday when she won the Birmingham Classic and will be top seed at Wimbledon.
“It’s an injury I’ve had to manage since I was 16 years old,” Barty told reporters at Devonshire Park on Monday.
“It happens when I have a spike in load, it’s just a bone stress injury and I need to look after it.”
Her coach Craig Tyzzer said Wimbledon might not have been “a viable option” had she played too much this week.
“It’s just loads,” he said. “We have to monitor how much she plays, so this makes sense.”
Barty won the French Open earlier this month, the first Australian woman to do so in 46 years, and is on a 12-match winning streak heading to the All England Club.
She is optimistic she will be ready in time.
“I think it will be fine but we will have to make sure that we manage it carefully over the next three or four days and that I’m ready to go next week,” she said.
“It’s smarter to take time to let me body rest. It’s just about monitoring how many balls I hit when I do get back on court, particularly the serve. Just need to let it settle.”
Three years ago Barty arrived at Eastbourne to play her first tournament since returning to the game after walking away from it in 2014 and spending a year playing cricket.
Barty reached the semi-final then as a qualifier and her trajectory since has been spectacular.
She broke into the top 10 for the first time when she won the Miami Open this year and then stormed to the title on the Parisian clay despite it being her least favorite surface.
Her win over Julia Goerges on Sunday on the Birmingham grass meant she woke up on Monday as world number one.
“It’s been a whirlwind, it’s been the most incredible time of my life, it really has, it’s come around so quickly but we’ve done so much work with my team and I,” she said.
“It’s been an incredible ride.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)