Ash Barty ahead of the 2019 Fed Cup final. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Ash Barty ahead of the 2019 Fed Cup final. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Barty’s COVID-19 reflections reveals the “surreal’’

World women's tennis No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has reflected on her "surreal'' rise to the top of the sporting tree that, even now, remains a little unbelievable to her.

For the last three months Barty has joined the rest of the sporting world in a COVID-19 crisis sporting lockdown, giving her more of a chance to reflect instead of enjoying moments on the run as she rebounds from one tournament to the next.

Barty said "the whole experience'' (of being No. 1) remained surreal''

"It still feels surreal to be honest,'' the Woodcrest State College past student said.

Barty has been at the top of women's world tennis since June, 2019, when she attained top billing at the Nature Valley Classic (Birmingham) title in England.

She had positioned herself for a tilt at the No. 1 spot after winning the French Open last May, having only broken into the world top 10 months before hand.

 

Ash Barty at the Brisbane International earlier this year. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Ash Barty at the Brisbane International earlier this year. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

While Barty was a believer in celebrating "the good moments and enjoying our achievements'' while on tour, she said the COVID-19 enforced lay-off had given her additional time for contemplation.

"It been nice to reflect on that time and appreciate it over the last few months,'' she said.

When you speak to Barty it is not about her achievements, rather about what her team had achieved with her and she was quick to highlight the importance her entourage had played in her success.

"When I came back to tennis I made the decision to only have the most genuine people around me,'' Barty said.

"I'm really proud of our group and I have the utmost respect for each and every one of them. "The way they support me and help me achieve my best is something I am very grateful for.''

 

Australian Open action involving Ash Barty. Pic: Michael Klein
Australian Open action involving Ash Barty. Pic: Michael Klein

Barty, whose down to earth demeanour has endeared her to sporting fans around the globe, reflected on the role her parents, Josie and Robert, and junior coach Jim Joyce at the West Brisbane Tennis Centre had played in giving her the foundations for be successful.

"My mum and dad have been instrumental the whole way through my career,'' Barty said.

"The values they taught my sisters and I to live by have shaped me as a person, I still live by these today.

"Jim taught me respect on the tennis court - respect for myself, my opponent and for the game.

"The lessons he taught me were so important and I still ask his opinion on things today.

"My partner Garry is an amazing support to me. He puts up with the wins, the losses and keeps me happy on the road.''

Barty said living with the world No. 1 tag when she attended tournaments was something that was out of her control.

"But the only expectations I pay attention to are those I put on myself, everything else is out of my control,'' she said.

 

Ash Barty playing at the Brisbane International. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Ash Barty playing at the Brisbane International. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Barty also praised rising Queensland women's players, her 2020 Fed Cup teammate Priscilla Hon and Townsville-raised rookie Lizette Cabrera, whom she described as great talents and girls.

"We have an incredible group of girls coming through in Australian tennis, I'm proud to be a part of the Fed Cup group and I'm sure that I'll be watching Lizette, Pri and all the young Aussie girls go from strength to strength over the next few years.''

Originally published as Barty's COVID-19 reflections reveals the "surreal''



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