A laid back Ash Barty is always # 1

In a year where mental health has often made headlines in sports, it is fitting that Ash Barty of Australia is the No. 1 player in the w...


In a year where mental health has often made headlines in sports, it is fitting that Ash Barty of Australia is the No. 1 player in the world. Barty was aware of moving away from tennis for over a year in 2014 to seek a more normal existence (although she also took up professional cricket).

In 2019, when she stumbled at Wimbledon losing in the fourth round, it took a few weeks to get home and recharge. And after being off tour for almost a year during the pandemic, she has won four titles this year, including Wimbledon.

Barty discussed her approach to tennis and life as she prepared for the United States Open. The following interview has been edited and condensed.

Are you someone who has always gone their own way?

I grew up with my mom and dad values ​​that you make the right decisions for the right reasons, and they don’t depend on tennis. When I do that, whatever it means for my tennis, I’m a happy person. Of course, you can’t please everyone, but that’s all I have to do.

Are you frustrated when people attack Naomi Osaka or Simone Biles for making decisions based on their Mental Health?

I haven’t followed these stories too closely, but based on the headlines, I hope they’re making the right decisions for the right reasons. It doesn’t matter to Simone and Naomi what the rest of the world thinks.

In 2019, after hitting number 1, you fell at Wimbledon, took three weeks off and then fell in the second round of your next tournament. Did you feel the pressure as a new No.1?

It was really exciting – it was something I had worked for. It certainly didn’t add any pressure, if anything took it away because I had absolutely nothing to prove to anyone.

After Wimbledon it was really important for me to come home and take stock. I came to the United States knowing that I was probably not going to play my best tennis in some of these tournaments. But I had a solid end of the year. [Barty reached the finals of the China Open and won the year-end WTA Finals.]

This year, was it easy to gain a foothold right away?

I take each week as it comes. Every game is an opportunity to do my best that day. Whether it is a victory or a defeat does not matter. It’s more about coming out with the right attitude no matter what the outcome.

As an athlete, you have to be able to break up and not rely on those wins and losses – this is definitely a wrong way to determine if you have had a successful career. It’s more about how you go about it and how much you enjoy this trip.

Were you confident before Wimbledon or worried about lingering injuries?

I still have confidence in my tennis. If I play well, I will be very difficult to beat. But at Wimbledon my team and I had no idea how my body was reacting, so we were on the alert. I would wake up every morning to see if I was feeling okay. Getting through the tournament physically was huge so I was able to relax and play some of my best tennis when it mattered most.

The US Open has proven to be your biggest challenge. You never got past the fourth round. Is there a particular challenge for you to play there?

I love playing in New York and I love the conditions. Making the fourth round two years in a row isn’t that great – being in week two of a Slam is where you want to be – and I’ve lost to some quality opponents. We just keep cutting back. I go there and try to do my best.

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Newsrust - US Top News: A laid back Ash Barty is always # 1
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