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Barty on Retiring Strycova: Hell of a Chick

Those who claim life is lonely at the top have probably never hung out with Barbora Strycova.

Former doubles world No. 1 Strycova, who is pregnant, announced her official retirement from the pro circuit yesterday.

More: Barbora Strycova Announces Retirement

Today, world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty paid tribute to Strycova as a fierce and respected competitor and bright and bubbly presence in the locker room.

"Hell of a chick," Barty said of Strycova. "Seriously, it made me smile when I saw that she announced she's pregnant. I think it's an incredible new chapter for her.

"Hell of a person, someone who was always bright, bubbly, wore her heart on her sleeve on the court but was probably one of the most respected in the locker room."

Indeed, Strycova, who attained a career-high singles rank of No. 16 in 2017 and reached the 2019 Wimbledon singles semifinals (after bowing to Barty in the Birmingham semifinals weeks earlier), was a master of all disciplines.

Though she stands 5'5", Strycova, like Barty, can serve-and-volley and play all-court tennis. The owner of 31 doubles titles, including winning the 2019 Wimbledon with Hsieh Su-Wei, Strycova was a respected gritty battler, Barty said.

"Genuinely put her whole, put herself out on the court in a way where you know she never left anything out there but would also look you in the eye, shake your hand, say 'Well done' or 'Too good'," Barty said.  "I think a massive part of her kind of career was that she just always was in the battle, singles, doubles, mixed, you name it.

"She's achieved so much in her career. She's had a phenomenal career and certainly someone I will be sad to not see around the locker room but really, really excited for her and her next chapter becoming a mum. She's going to excel in that, I'm sure."

Photo credit: Steve Pisano/Wikimedia Commons