Ash Barty will finish the year World Number One after winning the WTA Finals event in China on Sunday. Just three years ago the Queenslander wasn’t even competing on the tour, instead playing cricket in the Big Bash League, the world of sports turns quick and her rise since coming back to tennis has been remarkable.
I wrote back in June after Barty won Roland Garros it would be interesting to see where her career goes from here, considering the pressure now that she’s a Grand Slam Champion and world number one.
Despite 4thround losses at Wimbledon and the US Open after that French Open victory what seems clear after this WTA Finals victory is that Barty isn’t only dealing with that pressure very well but this year has learned how to adapt her game against the best in the world to clay, grass, indoors and the hard courts.
For a game that translates so well to different surfaces at 23 years old there’s potentially another 10 years of competing for Slams and I’d be very surprised if when her career is done she doesn’t have multiple Slam Singles titles.
Barty will be playing for Australia in the Fed Cup final this weekend in Perth against France, it will be quite a coming home party and a little bit of a rehearsal for competing as the world number one on home soil for next January’s Australian Open.
The public expectation in Melbourne next year will be gigantic but I suspect the level headed Barty will use this season’s pressure filled matches as inspiration that she can execute when it matters most.
This has been a season to remember for Ash Barty, life changing in so many ways but for the grounded levelheaded Queenslander she’ll just take it all in stride and not get caught up in the hype.
With that personality type it does suggest she will have success at the Australian Open, it might be next year, it might not, but at some point just like Hewitt did against Safin in 2005 she’ll be in the final and most of the nation would be riveted.
Regardless of what happens in the future this year in tennis belongs to Ash Barty.