Sports ‘Hermit’ Barty took no chances on the way to win

‘Hermit’ Barty took no chances on the way to win

MELBOURNE, January 30

As Ash Barty was making her drought-breaking run at the Australian Open, the talent of her rivals was not her only concern.

The world No. 1 had enjoyed the perfect preparation for Melbourne Park, but was mindful an innocent slip-up could bring her undone.

With Covid infections spiking in Australia, the three-time Grand Slam champion said her team were on high alert.

“We didn’t leave (the house),” she told a small group of reporters (after her 6-3 7-62) final win over Danielle Collins. “We would just go in the morning and get a takeaway coffee. We didn’t go to any restaurants, didn’t go out anywhere. So it has been two weeks of hermit life. It was a pretty quiet two weeks, just to eliminate the risk. We were just careful about it and didn’t want to add any risk unnecessarily.”

The emotion Barty displayed after defeating American Collins was unusual for the Australian.

After converting matchpoint, she roared with passion, having dealt successfully with the expectations of being the local favourite.

“I wanted to yell. I wanted to scream to just get some of it out,” she said. “It’s been a really incredible two weeks of built-up emotion, in a really good way. Being able to let it all out and just kind of roll with it was cool.”

Having taken no chances with her health during the tournament, Barty found herself in what seemed a thousand embraces afterward. Family and friends queued three deep to offer congratulations in the corridors at Melbourne Park. The celebrations were in stark contrast to the mood of her 2014 US Open, when she lost in the first round.

At 18, she was homesick and jaded with the sport. Her subsequent sabbatical from tennis was to prove pivotal in regaining her passion.

“Without a doubt, in this second phase of my career, I’ve learned so much more about myself as a person. I’ve grown so much more as a person,” she said. — Reuters

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