No sooner had Ashleigh Barty completed her breakthrough triumph in Saturday’s French Open final than the pundits were asking whether she could pull off the rare Paris-London double. Only the game’s greatest legends have managed to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same season – most recently Serena Williams in 2015. It takes an unusual mastery of different playing styles and surfaces to be successful on both clay and grass in five weeks. But Barty’s chief virtue is her versatility. Unlike Naomi Osaka – the only player who remains ahead of her in the world rankings – she does not rely on slamming the ball into the corners, but works her way through rallies with touch and imagination, using more different spin settings than a top-of-the-range washing machine. She has also enjoyed many of her best results on grass, claiming titles both in Nottingham last summer and Birmingham the previous year. Plus, she won the Wimbledon girls’ singles when she was 15. On Saturday night, it was interesting to hear the verdict of ITV4 commentator Martina Navratilova, who also completed the French Open-Wimbledon double during her peak years of 1982 and 1984.
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