‘Be patient, have fun, trust your gut’ – Ash Barty’s advice to aspiring Grand Slam champion
She may not be keen on childhood photos but she’s good with philosophical advice
The photo of a little Ash Barty proudly clutching a racquet and a trophy is famous on social media now. She’s less than keen on being reminded of it; like many people she’s a little embarrassed by childhood snaps.
When asked what advice she’d give that little girl, though, the new Australian Open champion did not hesitate.
“Be patient, have fun, trust your gut every day of the week,” she said.
Plaudits for her achievement as an Australian winning at home came from all round the tennis world – but also the broader sporting sphere, including cricket team Brisbane Heat, where she played when on her hiatus. Barty hinted at the additional sense of achievement she felt having returned to tennis, and reflected on the different feelings she had after winning each of her three Grand Slams so far.
“They are all very different, all very different stages of my life,” she said.
“I think to be able to have this feeling and experience this a few times over, I just understand how fortunate I am to be able to experience that, because not many people get to do that. I think it’s just been an incredible journey over this past 20 years of hitting a tennis ball but particularly the last five or six years in this second phase of my career.
“I think being able to surround myself with amazing people who have invested so much time and effort and love into my career, and for them to be able to support me and to be able to experience it with me is really cool. I think our drive and determination and passion has always been the same right from the start. I think finding what we love to do and being able to then go out and compete and try and break down some of the barriers and try and achieve new things is really exciting for us always.”
Barty – I always do my best and that’s all I can do
And she said that she never felt a particular weight of expectation despite knowing that it had been so long since an Australian woman had won the title in Melbourne.
“I think the expectation was that I would always come out and give my best, and that’s all I’ve ever done,” she said. “I have been close before, but I think now that we’ve been able to achieve this, I think you guys [in the press] don’t need to talk about it any more. You were the ones who added fuel to the fire, because for us it was just the same processes and the same enjoyment, regardless of where we’re playing in the world, what round it is. That has no impact on how much I enjoy my tennis and go out there or how much I try and compete.
“So I think being able to really simplify that and then just come out and enjoy it. I mean, this fortnight, seven times I got to walk out onto a beautiful court with incredible fans and try and do the best I can do, and that’s all I could ask of myself.
“Now to be able to have this part of my dream kind of achieved is amazing, and I think I have to really understand that that came from the processes that we put in with my team and the people that are around me, because without them, I wouldn’t be half the person that I am.”