Ash Barty's former coach has revealed how a text message from Serena Williams helped convince the Australian star to come back to tennis.
Barty shocked the tennis world in 2014 when she walked away from the sport, citing a need to refresh mentally and take a break from the game she loves.
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The Queenslander then played a stint in cricket with the Brisbane Heat in the women's Big Bash League, a move that she said completely changed her perspective.
However the 25-year-old was no certainty to return to tennis until a text message from a 23-time grand slam champion helped convince her.
"Ash was in a restaurant I think and Serena sent her a message saying 'you are too good a player to retire ... you have to come back," former coach Jim Joyce told the Courier Mail on Saturday.
Joyce said it would have been a huge waste if Barty had walked away from tennis for good.
"I loved having her around. She was a bloody good player to coach," he said.
"But I said to people at the time if she didn't return it would be the greatest waste Australian tennis has ever seen.
"That comment was proved right. I mean, have a look."
Speaking after winning her maiden grand slam title at the French Open in 2019, Barty revealed how her stint away from tennis helped sparked her meteoric rise after returning.
"For me, I needed time to step away, to live a normal life, because this tennis life certainly isn't normal," she said.
"I think I needed time to grow as a person, to mature and I left all of my options open.
"I think it was just a natural progression for me coming back to tennis. Tennis will always be a big part of my life. I missed the competition."
Secret weapon helping Ash Barty dominate tennis world
Meanwhile, current coach Craig Tyzzer has detailed the lengths he and Barty have gone to in order to perfect the most potent shot in women's tennis - her serve.
It is the weapon that fired her to Australian Open glory in Saturday night's final against Danielle Collins.
The stealthy serve has decimated her rivals this summer, with the World No.1 taking down 11 victims from 11 matches and winning a phenomenal 81 of 82 service games before the final.
She had won 84 per cent of points after landing her first serve at Melbourne Park, numbers that have surpassed even the best efforts from Serena - widely considered the finest server women's tennis has seen.
But it's no coincidence, with Tyzzer revealing he and Barty spent endless hours mastering her serve to ensure it holds up in any conditions, and most importantly when she is fatigued or under pressure.
"We do spend a lot of time on it. We do a lot of targets, a lot of specifics about where to serve and what comes back," Tyzzer said.
"Then we work on building the technique and the rhythm for her so that she feels comfortable even when she is tired in the legs.
"Or even when it's deep into a match, so that she's still got that same rhythm and same feeling.
"We've done a lot of work through pre-season on those things."
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