Ashleigh Barty will not defend her Wimbledon junior singles title.
Ashleigh Barty will not defend her Wimbledon junior singles title. David Nielsen

Barty to focus on US Open

IPSWICH rising star Ashleigh Barty will not defend her Wimbledon junior singles title, but instead begin preparations for the US Open.

Speaking after losing her debut match at Wimbledon yesterday, the 16-year-old said her priority was to play more WTA and ITF tournaments.

The Wimbledon wildcard was outplayed by Italian 21-seed Roberta Vinci, going down 6-2 6-4 in one hour.

"Today was a tough match, but I have to continue to improve before the US Open," she said.

"I have to keep working on my whole game - my physicality, mental as well. I've just got to keep working and developing as a player.

"It's a long road but I'm ready for it."

Barty is 0-3 at majors after also recieving wildcards at this year's Australian Open and French Open.

"Obviously Roberta knows how to play on grass - she uses her slice backhand well," Barty said. "I think I held my own out there, I just made too many errors."

In fact, 12 more errors (21-9) while keeping pace with winners (18-19).

Barty described the feeling and pressure of playing her debut as "completely different" when asked to compare it with the experience of winning last year's junior title on one of Wimbledon's main courts.

"I found playing on Court 14 today was almost more nerve wracking than playing on Court 1 last year," she said. "But I still have a pretty good record here so I'm happy with that."

Meanwhile, Perth's Casey Dellacqua put up little resistance in her 6-2 6-4 loss to No.9 seed and former finalist Marion Bartoli of France.

Sam Stosur was the lone Australian to progress to the second round.


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