Stoltenberg: Barty could take next step in Paris
Jason Stoltenberg feels his charge Ash Barty could be ready to take another significant step in her development at this week's French Open.
Ash Barty’s coach warns the Australian tennis prodigy needs plenty more time and experience at the top level before she starts to fulfil her exciting potential.
But Jason Stoltenberg feels his charge could be ready to take another significant step in her development at this week’s French Open.
At just 17, Barty is considered among the most promising prospects in world tennis, with her achievements to date drawing comparisons with a young Martina Hingis.
However the world No.185 is still finding her feet on the women’s tour and is chasing her first win in a Grand Slam match entering her sixth major tournament.
Barty opens her Roland Garros campaign against big-hitting Czech Lucie Hradecka on Tuesday.
And, with more valuable experience under her belt and a confidence-building Fed Cup victory over world No.58 Stefanie Voegele on clay in Switzerland last month, Stoltenberg believes Barty is well placed to make an impact.
“That Fed Cup win was huge for her and she just needs some more matches like that, some more wins like that,” Stoltenberg told AAP.
“She’s done it at different levels now and this level is the next step.
“I think a lot of people had expectations she was just going to go ‘bang’ but I think, the way I looked at it, it just had to go through the different levels.
“We’ve never had that expectation on Ash and it’ll just take its course.
“If she can come to a tournament like this and win a match, that’s another level and then she keeps chipping away, then it’ll be two matches and she might just take off.”
Former player Stoltenberg, a French Open junior finalist, said Barty was still “like a little girl” and felt plenty of nerves when she made her debut at Roland Garros last year.
She’s now far more confident in her surroundings and has relished practice sessions against former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic and compatriot Sam Stosur this week.
“I’m definitely a lot more comfortable than I was last year,” Barty said.
“I’ve had a lot of experiences over the past year so it’s kind of accumulated … I really feel like my game’s starting to come together a little bit and obviously the more tournaments you play at this level the better you’re going to get.
“I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to win, or make a third round or whatever. I’m just playing each match on its merits and giving it a go.”