Barty: ‘It’s been amazingly positive’

  • Dan Imhoff

Ash Barty speaks with a hassle-free assuredness as she considers the opportunities her maiden Australian Open quarterfinal appearance opens up for the future.

It is two days since she was cheered off Rod Laver Arena to a standing ovation, outplayed but far from disconcerted after falling to two-time grand slam champion Petra Kvitova.

The 22-year-old is back home in Queensland.

It’s where she’s best able to recharge, a week of well-earned downtime before doing it all again.

Thumbnail

Her next flight is bound for the US. She’ll end up in Asheville, North Carolina, for Australia’s Fed Cup tie against the Americans.

Barty wouldn’t miss it for the world.

A red-lining Kvitova may have ended her Australian Open campaign, but there is time to take stock of a breakthrough summer.

MORE: Kvitova bursts Barty’s bubble

The Queenslander beat former world No.1 Maria Sharapova to progress beyond the fourth round at a major for the first time. It came on the heels of a run to the final in Sydney, where again Kvitova had her number, in a tight three-set battle.

“It’s been amazingly positive,” Barty said. “We set a goal to go deeper at the slams and we’ve been able to use that opportunity… in the first grand slam of the year, which is really important.

“But overall, only speaking for myself, we want to try to continue to develop to become a full and complete player, keep chipping away to keep putting myself out there and give myself the opportunity to go deeper in tournaments.”

Barty departed Melbourne at a new career-high ranking of No.14 next to her name. It was all the more remarkable considering she and her coach, Craig Tyzzer, had been sidelined during the lead-up and the Australian summer: Tyzzler bed-ridden during much of her Melbourne Park campaign, and Barty interrupted due to a complication from an operation to remove her wisdom teeth in the off-season.

The 22-year-old took both in her stride. Her childhood coach Jim Joyce flew down to work alongside Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik to keep the campaign on track.

“I actually think right through the summer Ash did a pretty amazing job,” Tyzzer said. “Ash was a little bit behind in our preparations. She had her wisdom teeth out and had a pretty severe infection in the middle of our training block and had to shut it down for a while so we were a fair bit behind getting into Perth and trained pretty solid through Perth to be ready.

“What Ash was able to do was pretty impressive. Through January I think those results have stood up and shown what she’s capable of doing.

“We won’t leave any stone unturned as we look to continue improving and get better and hopefully going further and further in the slams throughout this year.”

We won’t leave any stone unturned as we look to continue improving and get better
Barty's coach Craig Tyzzer

The goals don’t alter much for the remainder of the season. Barring a semifinal run in Strasbourg from 2018, she has few points to defend before Roland Garros.

A first-time top-16 seeding at a major would be expected.

“Obviously, try to go deeper in slams,” Barty said. “There are so many tournaments throughout the year and every one I enter I’m extremely hungry to do well. We enter tournaments to win it.”

That precious week of downtime is a chance to disconnect. There won’t even be much temptation to flick on the television and tune in to see which of her four remaining rivals becomes a first-time Australian Open champion.

MORE: Reflective Barty finds silver lining

“Being honest probably not at all,” she laughed. “I watched Sammy [Stosur] last night get a little doubles win, which was nice, but really I won’t be watching much at all.

“I’ll be taking this time to kind of cruise and chill out and not worry too much about the tennis.”

It’s already been a summer up to expectations, enough to whet an appetite for so much more in 2019.