Hardcourt Slams remain elusive for Barty, Halep, Muguruza
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New York (AFP) –
Two-time Grand Slam champions Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza all seek their first major title on hardcourts at the US Open after ultimate success on grass and clay.
World number one Barty captured the 2019 French Open crown and July's Wimbledon title, but has never escaped the fourth round in New York and only made the semi-finals in her homeland's Slam, the Australian Open.
"It's an interesting one," Barty said of the situation. "We've all won big titles on hard courts.
"I don't think there's anything specific to it. It's just sometimes you have to get the timing right. Things have to fall in your place. You have to get a bit of luck.
"You have to be able to navigate your way through a two-week tournament, which is not easy."
Halep, a 29-year-old Romanian, won the 2018 trophy on the red clay of Roland Garros and took the 2019 Wimbledon title on grass while 27-year-old Spaniard Muguruza claimed the 2016 French Open crown and took Wimbledon the following year.
"I don't know why. Hopefully one of us can win a hardcourt Grand Slam," Halep said Wednesday. "I cannot explain why.
"It's just maybe because we didn't trust that much that on hardcourt we can win. But also, in the same time, we won other tournaments, big tournaments on hard.
"So probably it's a matter of time and we have just to wait and to believe that it's going to come."
- 'They are all hard' -
Muguruza, who lost the 2020 Australian Open final to American Sofia Kenin, owns WTA hardcourt titles from Dubai, Beijing and Cincinnati.
"I don't think they are the hardest ones. They are all hard," Muguruza said, comparing hardcourt Slams to the others.
"Everybody plays well on hardcourt. It's more equal. So I feel like there can be more winners.
"The other ones you need to have something in your game. You have to be more than just hitting the ball and hitting hard. I feel you need that X-factor that clay court brings and grass courts are unpredictable. It's tricky.
"But in hardcourt everybody plays well, so there is no theory really. It's just funny that three players just happened that."
Halep's hardcourt history includes a 2018 Australian Open final loss to Caroline Wozniacki and her WTA hardcout titles include Dubai, Doha, Canada and Indian Wells.
Barty, 25, won her second WTA Miami hardcourt crown this year and took the Cincinnati hardcourt tuneup for the US Open two weeks ago.
"Sometimes the single-week tournaments are easy to get a bit of a flow," said Barty. "You play every day. You just get in this monotonous rhythm of warmup, practice, play.
"But for two weeks, that's a very long time to stay focused, to stay specific to what you want. And the Grand Slams, where the best quality tennis players come to one event and try and beat each other.
"I hope for all of us we're not far off. You keep putting yourself in that position time and time again, keep showing up, having a crack, and that's kind of all you can ask."
© 2021 AFP