(FILA Global ) - On the heels of the French Open, which saw FILA sponsored tennis player Ashleigh Barty capture her maiden Grand Slam singles title and rise to World No. 2, FILA is proud to sponsor three of the world’s Top 5 women’s professional tennis players for the first time in its storied history. Sporting FILA’s timeless on court looks and industry leading performance tennis shoe, the Axilus 2 Energized, Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova and Kiki Bertens have taken the tennis world by storm, cruising to career milestones and injecting inspiration into the game in the process.
Ashleigh Barty | World No. 2
Just five years ago and at the ripe age of 18, Ash Barty stepped away from the game of tennis. The Tour grind, the expectations, the noise; it’s not for everyone. Barty, however, was determined to return to the game on her time and her schedule, allowing herself enough space to build the mental wherewithal needed to compete with the WTA’s finest.
After a stint with cricket over the course of two years, back Barty came in 2017 ranked No. 623, with hopes of channeling her impeccable athleticism and stellar variety to make a name for herself in tennis. Doubles success came first for Barty, and was an integral part of her plan towards returning to competitive form in the singles ladder. Successful she was, securing nine doubles titles since her return; four of which came at Premier Mandatory events; and one of Grand Slam variety (2018 US Open).
Barty claimed the WTA Elite Trophy title to finish her 2018 campaign ranked No. 15 in the world, an incredible rise in just two short years for the Aussie. Little did Barty, or frankly anyone in the tennis world know, the then 22-year-old’s brightest days were still ahead.
What Barty has accomplished in the first half of her 2019 season has been nothing short of remarkable: she made the final at Syndey International; reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on her home turf; captured her first Premier Mandatory singles title at Miami on her way into the WTA Top 10; and now has earned the title of Grand Slam champion after her triumph at Roland Garros this past fortnight. Oh, and not to be forgotten are Barty’s four wins to zero losses in Fed Cup tie-matches; and Tour-leading 31 singles victories.
Primed for continued success, the new World No. 2 happily moves into grass season, where she hopes to surpass a career-best third round appearance at the Wimbledon Championships (2018).
Karolina Pliskova | World No. 3
A frequent atop the WTA rankings, Karolina Pliskova has continued her outstanding play into 2019, earning her notoriety as one of the Tour’s most consistent players. How consistent, you ask? The 27-year-old former World No. 1 has finished each of the last three Tour seasons ranked inside the Top 10 and has dominated the Tour in terms of number of aces per season.
Following a second consecutive WTA Finals semifinal appearance in late-2018, Pliskova kicked off her 2019 campaign by winning Brisbane International; reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open after an epic come-from-behind victory over Serena Williams; making quarterfinal appearances at Dubai and Indian Wells; taking fellow FILA sponsored player Ash Barty to the brink at the Miami Open before falling in the final; and consequently winning Rome en route to one of the best stretches of tennis in the Czech’s career.
Pliskova’s daunting serve and powerful groundstrokes have led her back into the WTA Top 5 following the French Open, as she shifts her attention ahead to grass season in hopes of reclaiming the game’s top spot.
Kiki Bertens | World No. 4
In perhaps one of the most impressive off-season moves, Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands joined FILA in January of 2019, following a career-year for the 27-year-old. After starting her 2018 campaign ranked No. 31, Bertens enjoyed a steady rise highlighted by three championship victories; Charleston, Seoul and Cincinnati - the first Premier Mandatory title of her career. Bertens finished 2018 by making her Top 10 debut, finishing No. 9 in the world and making an appearance at the WTA Finals Singapore for the first time.
Showing no signs of slowing down and that her Top 10 appearance was no fluke, Bertens, like Pliskova, has shown her outstanding consistency and ability to compete at a high-level week after week. Bertens has two titles thus far in 2019: St. Petersburg and Madrid – where Bertens knocked off three consecutive Top 10 challengers to claim her second Premier Mandatory title. Semifinal appearances at Sydney, Stuttgart and Rome; in addition to her first fourth round appearance at Indian Wells, have led Bertens to her first Top 5 appearance.
Shifting away from her best surface (clay), Bertens will look to further shake up the WTA rankings and build on a quarterfinal appearance at last year’s Wimbledon Championships.