Barty on cloud nine after career-best win
Ash Barty's win over Francesca Schiavone has fuelled her belief of greater future success, and rates as more satisfying than her 2011 junior Wimbledon win.
She’s just 16 and stands at a diminutive 166cm, but Queensland schoolgirl Ashleigh Barty is already making a splash on the world tennis stage.
Barty notched the biggest scalp of her fledgling career on Thursday night with a 6-0 6-3 demolition of 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone at the Hopman Cup in Perth.
The 55-minute rout capped a dream week for Barty, who was also handed a wildcard into this month’s Australian Open.
The right-hander, who improved her ranking from 669 to 175 in 2012, was only playing at the Hopman Cup following the withdrawal of Casey Dellacqua (foot).
Barty showed glimpses of her talent in a 6-2 6-3 loss to former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic in front of 13,509 fans at a packed Perth Arena on Wednesday night.
And she displayed no fear when she took on the might of Serbia’s world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the mixed doubles.
But it was her win over Schiavone that has fuelled her belief of greater success down the track, with Barty rating it more satisfying than her 2011 juniors triumph at Wimbledon.
“I think this trumps everything,” Barty said.
“It has to be close to one of the best performances I’ve ever played.”
Barty’s coach Jason Stoltenberg was equally ecstatic after the win, and was confident a bright future lay ahead for his pupil, who is also coached by Jim Joyce.
“Most 25-year-old men would have been scared (playing Djokovic),” Stoltenberg said.
“And to have a 16-year-old girl out there playing Novak in the mixed doubles and Ana in the singles, just to see how she handled that was pretty special. I’m really proud of her and happy for her, because I know it’s not an easy road for any player.
“And although she looks like she does it easy and she’s kind of relaxed and casual, I know she’s like every player. She still feels the bumps like everyone else. I’m relieved for her and proud of her.
“To see someone go out there and grow in a week like I’ve seen this week, that’s what I’m most happy about.”
Stoltenberg said Barty possessed deceptive power despite her small stature, but believes it is her variety that will bring her future success.
“She’s not going to win matches by going out there and overpowering a lot of girls. She’s got to use her variety and her slice. She’s not really using her net game that much anymore, but she volleys very well,” he said.
“The good thing is there’s a lot of variety in her game, and she’s pretty tough under pressure. There’s a lot of upside.”
Before the Australian Open, Barty will contest the Hobart International after also being handed a wildcard.