Sharapova: ‘Brilliant’ Barty can go all the way
Maria Sharapova has endorsed Ash Barty as a potential Australian Open champion - with a caveat.
Shattered after a fourth-round defeat at the hands of the beguiling Queenslander, Sharapova conceded Barty's tennis was brilliant.
One of the most talented players in the world, the former junior Wimbledon champion is into the grand slam quarters for the first time in her career.
"I think everyone has a chance, and everyone has an opportunity, whether you take it," Sharapova said when asked if Barty was ready to win a major.
"I thought she played some brilliant tennis in parts of the match, and you have to deliver that for three more (matches), so, you know, I think time will tell."
Sharapova conceded Barty's unique, instinctive and attacking tennis is difficult to counter.
"Yeah, a different style, but a really tough style to play against," Sharapova said.
"I thought she played a really great match, and I still had my chances which I didn't take.
"I definitely had a letdown for many games straight (from 1-all in the second set until 0-4 in the third), gave her that confidence, and she's a confidence player, as well.
"And she'll take it. She's not going to back down. And she did.
"You know, 30-all in the first game,second set, just didn't take care of business.
"Yeah, I think I took a few steps back. I let her control the points a little bit.
"Got into longer rallies, which I think off of the backhand she had a great slice out there today.
"That stayed quite low in the conditions. And I didn't do enough with that ball."
Sharapova bluntly shut down questions about a seven-minute toilet break between the second and third sets.
She also refused to comment on her former use of Meldonium until 2016, when she returned a positive test to the drug and served a 15-month ban.
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