Ash Barty exclusive: ‘Turning down Andy Murray was a tough decision’

Before forming his mixed doubles partnership with Serena Williams at the last Wimbledon, Murray messaged Barty to ask if she’d be his playing partner. The answer was an unequivocal no.

And having performed Wimbledon’s equivalent of sacrilege towards SW19’s favourite son, Barty laughs recalling their exchange.

“When I read his message I was like, ‘You can’t be doing this to me mate, you can’t be putting me in this position’,” she said. “But having already committed to play singles and then doubles with Vika [Azarenka], it was a tough one. That was a rough decision.

“But he found a very, very good partner in Serena and they had fun. I think maybe he’s over it now!”

Should Murray make a late approach again this time around, the answer is likely to be the same with Barty having agreed to enter the women’s doubles with Australian Open runner-up Jennifer Brady.

“It would have been remarkable to play with Andy in any tournament, let alone Wimbledon,” added Barty. “I had fun watching that and seeing him enjoy his tennis again.

“He’s too good a player not to be on tour and for people to not be able to experience watching him play. He’s a remarkable guy and seeing him coming back from his surgeries and problems is very good. Plus, he’s a kind guy – I love his sense of humour and I love who he is as a person.”

Like Murray, Barty has had hip problems of her own, forcing her out midway through the second round of the French Open, an injury she describes as heartbreaking but one she is confident she has overcome to avoid it being a hindrance at Wimbledon.

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