June 20, 2019
WILL BARTY SPARK ANOTHER PARTY?
Ashleigh Barty wins Wimbledon. It is not something you have to try too hard to imagine. After all, Barty has done it before – when she was only fifteen years old.
Sure, that was the junior singles at Wimbledon back in 2011.
But the irrepressible Barty has just won the French Open and she must now believe that anything is possible – not least at the All England Club.
Barty isn’t the type to be seduced by the superficial glamour of celebrity. She has a strong sense of purpose in so many areas of her life.
Last year she was made National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia.
‘I’m a very proud indigenous woman and I think for me taking on this role is something very close to my heart. I’m very excited,’
Indeed, her golf-pro boyfriend, Garry Kissick, describes Ash as ‘the best person I’ve ever met.’ what you get on court is a superb all-round game and a fiercely competitive spirit.
THERE ARE NO FRILLS FROM THIS BUBBLY, LOVABLE AUSSIE.
Famously she quit tennis in her late teens because she had lost the sense of fun she saw as essential. What was the point of staying on the tour, if it was all pressure and routine? She was almost never home.
SHE WAS LOSING HERSELF.
‘I needed some time to refresh mentally more than anything. ‘It became a bit of a slog for me. I wasn’t enjoying my tennis as much as I would have liked to.‘
She fished, she immersed herself in building a home near her parents…and she took to cricket so brilliantly that Brisbane Heat signed her up for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League.
It was fun. But the courts were still calling, luring something deep within her. Individual sporting combat brings more of a challenge than anything else. She knew it.
‘After a break and trying other things, I missed tennis and decided I wanted to come back,’
She had coached kids during her time out, so she hadn’t exactly become a stranger to a tennis racquet.
BUT NOW SHE CRAVED SERIOUS COMPETITION.
And she was ready to make the necessary sacrifices. Mentally she was back where she needed to be.
It is highly likely that we are looking at a future Wimbledon champion. She is twenty-three and her game goes from strength to strength.
You could understand Barty’s genuine astonishment at her first Grand Slam singles glory, though. Her rise to the top of the tennis mountain has been quite an unusual climb. By the time she won Junior Wimbledon, she had already been playing tennis for eleven years.
Nothing too extraordinary about picking up a racquet aged four. But beating adult males at the age of twelve? That raised an eyebrow or two in her native Queensland.
The push for early world recognition brought Barty stunning rewards in that 2011 Wimbledon final. Against a girl who was older than she was, too.
Barty to win Wimbledon? Could be this year, could be next. But it will surely happen. Ash might feel entitled to remind you that it already has.