'Out of her system': Why Ash Barty is primed for epic 21-year first

·4-min read
Ash Barty is pictured here hitting a backhand during a tennis match.
Ash Barty is aiming to become the first woman since 2000 to win the French Open singles and doubles at the same tournament. Pic: Getty

A relaxed and rejuvenated Ash Barty is in an ideal mental space as she aims to clinch a second major trophy at this year's French Open, according to coach, Craig Tyzzer.

Barty will shoot for two titles at the French Open after the 2019 singles champion decided to resume her impressive partnership with Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady in the doubles.

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The fact that the Australian world No.1 has committed to two events is another indication that she's completely confident about her fitness after she retired from the recent Italian Open with an arm injury.

Evidently she's not daunted by the prospect of facing a 13-match schedule if she is to achieve the double over the fortnight in Paris.

If she were to win both in the same year, Barty would be the first player since Mary Pierce in 2000 to achieve the feat.

The Queenslander will set out on her quest to regain her Roland Garros singles title on Tuesday, when she meets American left-hander Bernarda Pera, the world No.70.

The 25-year-old hasn't lost a match at Roland Garros after skipping last year's tournament and the majority of the 2020 Tour because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barty's coach says the break has helped revitalise the Aussie, with her two titles at the Miami Open and Stuttgart Open, plus runner-up finish at the Italian Open a testament to that sentiment.

“Being at home through most of 2020 gave us a different look at everything,” Tyzzer said.

“Being able to spend time at home, realising it is actually a pretty good situation to be in to be able to go and play tennis for your job and enjoy it, there was a shift in perception for both of us. We realised that there are worse things going on out there at the moment with Covid.”

Barty has often spoken about leaving loved ones as being the hardest part of her life as a professional tennis player but Tyzzer says the break in 2020 did her wonders.

“She was a bit freer, able to go to the football, go watch friends play cricket. I just think that she got that out of her system,” he added.

“Since then, she has been fully invested and fully involved and playing good tennis.”

World No.1 teaming up with Brady in doubles

Barty looms as one of the main favourites to clinch the women's title at Roland Garros after winning 11 of her 13 matches on clay this year.

The Aussie's only two blemishes came against Aryna Sabalenka in the Madrid Open final and when she withdrew from the quarter-final clash with Coco Gauff at the Italian Open because of an arm injury.

Barty has often sharpened her game by doubling up at big events, having won the US Open doubles title with CoCo Vandeweghe in 2018.

In April this year, she partnered American Brady to victory on Stuttgart's indoor clay straight after she'd lifted the singles crown.

Seen here, doubles partners Jen Brady and Ash Barty.
Jen Brady and Ash Barty will team up again in the doubles at the French Open. Pic: Getty

The pair also teamed up in Melbourne at the Australian Open but their bid for victory was dashed when Barty felt it prudent to withdraw because of injury concerns after their first round win.

Barty and Brady, who are seeded 15th and look like a double act that everyone will want to avoid, will face Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina in the first round, Sunday's draw shows.

The Aussie-American friendship has blossomed during their time sharing a court, Barty explained in Stuttgart.

"I love spending time with Jen," she said.

"She's a good girl and we have a very similar sense of humour and it's pretty light-hearted when we're out on the court.

"Obviously, we're both competitors and we both want to do the best that we can to try and win the match but it is a lot of fun.

"There is a lot of talk that is non-relevant to the tennis match. We just enjoy each other's company."

When Barty joined forces with Victoria Azarenka at Roland Garros in 2019, they reached the last-16 before she went on to take her first grand slam singles crown.

with agencies

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