Ash Barty said on Friday she’s working rediscover memories of her 2019 victory at Roland Garros as the World No 1 returns to the Grand Slam for the first time since her title triumph.

“It feels like a very long time ago – a lifetime. But this week is a clean slate, a fresh start,” the Australian said.

“It’s hard to take too much from that tournament back in 2019, but it’s exciting to be back and have another opportunity to play here.

“It holds a very special place in my heart, I’m very excited to start again.”

“It’s pretty special to walk onto Chatrier court and have so many memories come flooding back. A lot of it I also don’t remember.”

The Queenslander remained at home under Australia’s strict – and continuing – COVID lockdown when the 2020 edition was played five months late last October, with Polish teenager Iga Swiatek taking the trophy.

But Barty is back and ready to challenge on the clay a fortnight after quitting a quarter-final in Rome as an existing shoulder injury flared up.

A few weeks in the South of France apparently cleared that problem, with the top seed ready to rumble.

 “I’m feeling good. I’m feeling ready to play. It was an important decision for us to make sure that we arrived at this tournament 100 per cent physically. 

“I’m looking forward to starting in a few days’ time. I’ll be excited to play and get out there for that first round.”


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