Ash Barty ... in Person

Apr 7, 2021, 11:08:00 PM | by Craig Gabriel

She is the No.1 player in the world and just recently she successfully defended a title for the first time in her professional career, the Miami Open. Ash Barty is one of the nicest and most down to earth athletes in the world and We Are Tennis’ Craig Gabriel caught up with her for this exclusive interview and discussed things from being No.1 to chocolate.


Tell me about the importance of successfully defending a title for the first time.
BARTY: The important probably not as much but the experience and the kind of emotions that come with it are quite unique. It’s something that is obviously very difficult to do particularly after a two-year gap I suppose. Not the way I would have wanted the match to end, I felt for Bianca, but all the work the last two weeks and this tournament has been really special, and I think to defend my title, particularly for what a special week Miami was for me in 2019, to be able to do that again this past week is really, really cool.

You were busy texting at the side of the court soon after winning the Miami Open again; was it your sister about the kids and the Easter bunny?
BARTY: I was chatting to Gary (her partner) and then to my mum and my sisters. Just Facetime them one I was in thee locker-room and had a minute just to say g’day to them, but just chatting to my family. I knew they were up and were watching. It’s always nice to hear from them and chat with them straightaway.

It’s had been a long hard road to get from Australia to Florida, the 50-hour journey, then playing a match you won from match point down, the three setters, so it must have been extra satisfying winning the tournament after all that?
BARTY: Yeah. I think I said to Tyzz (Craig Tyzzer her coach) after that journey it can only get better from here. Being able to work our way through that first match and kind of get our teeth into the tournament a little bit, it’s nice to give yourself a chance each match to improve and I found with each match the tennis did improve which is all you can ask, and whether that’s going deeper into tournaments or an opportunity for the next tournament, it’s about trying to improve every single time you walk on the court. I felt we were able to do that really well and adjust to the different styles of players and adapt to different game plans and execute them well.

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Knowing that you are a bit of a home body, how hard is it for you to psyche yourself up for such a long trip and knowing you will more than likely be out of Australia for eight, ten months, the rest of the year … so how tough has that been?
BARTY: I’m very much a big homebody, not just a little one. Ultimately it honestly did take a long time for me to come to terms with it and I’m not sure that I still have. Obviously when you are playing a lot of matches and you’re busy it’s a lot easier not be in a routine. Without doubt through the season, we are going to have tough moments, that’s natural, that’s normal, that’s sport. It’ll be those moments where I am tested the most, but we also have look through the lens that it’s an adventure; that’s what we have been trying to instil in myself, my team. (Part of) my team is back home in Australia and I won’t get to see them a lot of the year, which is obviously difficult physically, not being able to see my trainer or regular physio, all these little things, but I’m very fortunate that Tyzz has been prepared to do this with me. I’m forever grateful to him for he is on this journey with me, and we get to do this adventure together.

Whatever comes of it, good, bad or in-between, it’s an adventure and an experience and in five years, ten years or 20 years time I’m sure we are going to have a lot of moments out of the season of 2021 that we laugh at, there will be a few tears no doubt but there will be a helluva lot more laughter and lot more smiles.

Streamers surround Ash Barty and the Miami trophy

How important do you think the Miami Open title is going to be for the rest of the year for you?
BARTY: I think knowing how the 2019 Miami title set up my year, it’s really exciting. It’s a platform for us to grow from and to bounce off and we will try to do the exact same thing this year; to go into the rest of the season with a smile on our faces playing a free brand of tennis and almost in a way playing with no consequences, going out there and doing the best we can and not being concerned if there’s some tough moments.

Do you think winning the Miami Open, your tenth career title, could put to bed some of the chatter about No.1?

BARTY: Yeah … I think some of the chatter about No.1, I’ve seen a little bit of it, and I can’t change people’s opinions, everyone has their own right to their opinion, and I can’t control what anyone else says, but I feel like all the work I’ve done, Tyzz, my team, we deserve to be at the top of the rankings.

Yes, I didn’t play a lot in 2020 but also my ranking didn’t improve; none of my points improved in 2020 so there were opportunities for girls to try and catch that, but we were able to collect a lot of points in 2019 through a great season so I feel we deserve to be at the top of the rankings and I’m trying to do the best that I can every tournament. That chatter doesn’t bother me. I can’t control what anyone else says or what they report so for us it’s water off a duck’s back. It doesn’t bother us in the slightest.

How much do you enjoy being No.1?
BARTY: I feel I enjoy the challenge of being No.1, not the responsibility in a way, I just enjoy the challenge and the challenge to continue to improve regardless of what your ranking is.

It’s important to try and grow every single day and that’s both a personal goal and a professional goal, to grow as a person and as an athlete every single day. So, In doing that, I’d love to try and inspire the next generation coming through and put a smile on boys and girls faces all over the world and particularly around Australia.

Your next event is Charleston, but what have you got after that?
BARTY: I love it there, it’s a beautiful city and a beautiful centre. Bob and Eleanor do an exceptional job with that tournament every single year and it is always one where we want to try and play and try and earmark so we look forward to the green clay and then head over to Europe and get on the red clay with Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome before the French so it’s a nice little period for us leading up to the next Grand Slam but also fingers crossed, touch wood, all of those cities remain safe and we can play in a safe environment as well.

Easter has just gone by. Are you a chocoholic? What about chocolate Easter eggs and Easter bunnies? 
BARTY: Oh, yeah! I bought and packed myself a bunny and a little bag of Easter eggs – they made the trek over with me from Australia.