Famed tennis coach Nick Bollettieri has criticised Ash Barty’s attitude in her fourth round Wimbledon loss to Alison Riske.
The World No.1 offered no excuses on Monday after Riske crashed Barty's party with a 3-6 6-2 6-3 boilover.
The Court 2 shock ended Barty's 15-match winning streak and scuppered the 23-year-old's hopes of completing a rare French Open-Wimbledon title double.
Barty didn’t appear to be her normal self, and Bollettieri reckons it had a lot to do with her mental state.
Writing for The Independent, the 87-year-old American who has coached the likes of Andre Agassi, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, said he was “disappointed” by Barty’s “negative” attitude.
“A fourth-round meeting with Alison Riske offered her a great chance of reaching her first Wimbledon quarter-final but she never looked like taking it,” he wrote.
“Had her recent exertions caught up with her? Man, I don’t think that can be an excuse. When you’re out there on the court you have to find a way.
“Her attitude seemed poor throughout and she just wasn’t competitive.
“Her second serve often let her down, but I think it was her mental approach that was the key.”
The criticism is somewhat surprising considering the young Aussie’s incredible month.
After 15 wins in a row, surely one loss doesn’t deserve to be heavily scrutinised.
Nick Bollettieri tore her a new one in The Independent. You can redirect your ire to him: "Ashleigh Barty has had a sensational year but I was disappointed on Monday with her attitude, which appeared to be very negative."— WinthorpeIII (@LWinthorpeIII) July 10, 2019
Pretty sure Ash is doing just fine with her coaching staff and doesn't need Nicks opinion. After all she just won the French Open and backed it up with a win in Birmingham with her current coach.— Karen (@kmbailey0209) July 10, 2019
Nor did I. I said Ash is doing just fine without Nicks OPINION. Thanks for weighing in though.— Karen (@kmbailey0209) July 10, 2019
Barty’s classy response
Barty, though, was philosophical in defeat, reflecting instead on the most magnificent two months of her career.
"Overall it's been a hell of a trip," she said.
"Disappointed right now, obviously it's a tough pill to swallow. In the same breath, it's been an incredible few months.
"New ground for me here at Wimbledon. This is the best we've done.
"Also proud of the fact what we've been able to do over the last eight weeks.
"The consistency we've brought day in and day out, has been next to none. That's one of the best things about this trip.
"I have an incredible team of people around me who love me and support me and are with me through this journey.
"It's easy to go back now and chat to them about it. There are so many things we wish we had done. The what ifs.
"That's not what we try to focus on that. We focus on the positives. The positives of what have been over the last two months, last six months, and for this year, it's been incredible.
"Today wasn't my day, but that's not going to define us as a team, it's not going to define me as a person. That's the most important thing."
A silver lining to Barty's premature exit was the fourth-round loss later on Monday of third seed Karolina Pliskova, which guarantees the Queensland the world No.1 ranking until at least the start of the American hardcourt season.
Barty will return to Brisbane for a well-earned rest before beginning the US swing in Montreal from August 5.