'Irrelevant': Ash Barty shuts down 'white noise' at Wimbledon

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Ash Barty is pictured during a training session at Wimbledon.
Ash Barty says she isn't feeling any pressure heading into her Wimbledon semi-final against Angelique Kerber. (Photo by AELTC/DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Ash Barty says she has't been feeling any pressure throughout her impressive run to Wimbledon's semi-finals.

The 25-year-old has dropped just one set on her way to the All England top four, back in her first round match against Carla Suarez Navarro.

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As she prepares to face world No.28 Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final, Barty says she has been able to block out the 'white noise' surrounding her historic run and focus on the task at hand.

After defeating fellow Aussie hopeful Ajla Tomljanovic in the semi-final, Barty was asked if it was somehow easier for her to be away from the sort of fevered hopes she faced at her home Open in Melbourne.

The ever-affable Barty said she actually felt very little pressure to perform, and believed her best tennis was simply a by product of her being comfortable on court.

"I don't find it challenging anywhere in the world. I think I'm extremely lucky to get a lot of support all around the world.

"As Australian tennis players, we're in one of the few countries that are a grand slam nation. Without a doubt it adds to the excitement, it adds to the calendar that we do have a tournament in our own backyard.

"For me, it's not a fact of liking it, disliking it, being overwhelmed. It makes it fun. It's enjoyable."

Barty is the highest ranked challenger remaining, with world No.4 Aryna Sabalenka and No.14 Karolina Pliskova facing off in the other semi-final.

With tennis mad fans back home pulling for her every step of the way, Barty said she felt more supported than pressured.

"I know that they're watching. That to me is all that matters. I know the people that I love and the people that love me back are watching. They're living through this journey with me.

"I love the fact that Australians at home, the fans, are able to get behind all of us that are here.

"But I don't read the papers. I don't see that white noise as such. I don't read it. It doesn't faze me. It's not something that I focus on. It's almost irrelevant to me.

"This is my dream. I'm in an extremely fortunate position that I'm getting to do what I love, getting to do what I dreamt as a kid. So I think I've just got a whole lot of gratitude for the fact that I get to come out here and do what I love.

"The world, the way we're living at the moment, I think it's incredible that we're able to play, compete, have people enjoy it with us. So I'm certainly enjoying every single minute that I get out on those courts."

Barty ready for Kerber's 'ultimate test'

Kerber had almost begun to feel like the forgotten woman of tennis, a three-time grand slam champ who'd perhaps gone into irreversible decline at 33 - but her recent comeback on Europe's grass courts has reminded everyone at SW19 of permanence of class.

The German hadn't won two matches on the bounce since last year's US Open, but her victory on the grass in Bad Homburg leading into Wimbledon was her first tournament triumph since her magnificent victory over Serena Williams in the 2018 final.

Now she's feeling intoxicated by Wimbledon again, having beaten Karolina Muchova - a semi-finalist at this year's Australian Open - as comfortably as Barty beat Tomljanovic, to also make it into Thursday's fifth showdown against her old Aussie rival.

Angelique Kerber represents Ash Barty's 'ultimate test' at Wimbledon. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Angelique Kerber represents Ash Barty's 'ultimate test' at Wimbledon. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua via Getty Images)

"Now I'm back. I'm coming here after a really tough time. I was not playing good the last few months. Now winning a tournament at home, now playing well here again, that means a lot to me," she said afterwards.

"I'm really looking forward to playing against Ash. We never played on grass court. She played so great the last few months, years. I know that I have to play my best tennis, and she will push me to that, to give everything out there."

The feeling is mutual. They haven't met for three years but their head-to-head record is locked at 2-2 and Barty nodded respectfully towards the former Australian Open champ and ex-world No.1 by telling the Centre Court crowd: "It's the ultimate test."

With AAP

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