Melbourne, Australia, 26 June 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Craig Tyzzer is one of Australia’s most esteemed coaches, best known for the role he played in Ash Barty’s rise to world No.1.

After guiding Barty to three Grand Slam singles titles, he is now helping to develop the future stars of Australian tennis as the Girls’ Lead in Tennis Australia’s National Player Support Program.

The role, which Tyzzer began in late March, involves him mentoring the most promising junior girls across the country aged between 11 and 16.

“Previously Ben Pyne has been looking after the whole program, but I’ve come in to help with the female side and progress our girls through and get them to the next level,” Tyzzer explained.

“In the program we’ve got 29 girls, who are the best kids in the country. I do have to travel a bit to see them all, but it’s mainly just overseeing their program and making sure we’re getting enough time into them.

“I’ll keep a track on their progression and do follow-ups next term, and the term after, to make sure they are hitting the targets we are setting for them.”

The motivation for Tyzzer, who was named the WTA Tour’s Coach of the Year in 2019, is to ensure Australia maintains a strong presence in the world’s top 100 in the years to come.

“I know the journey that Ash went through and know what the level is at every stage, so now it’s trying to translate that to what we’ve got,” he said.

“I want to know ‘How far off are we? What do we need to do to get the girls to the next level? How do we progress them to the top 100?’”

Tyzzer is particularly impressed with the talent among the younger female players in the program.

“We’ve got a really good crop in the younger age groups, the 12s and the 11s,” he said.

“We seem to have more depth there, which is great. It’s a matter of then keeping them in the program and making sure they all progress together.”

Craig Tyzzer with Ash Barty at Australian Open 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Craig Tyzzer with Ash Barty at Australian Open 2022. Picture: Getty Images

The Melbourne-based Tyzzer did consider returning to the international tour, but admits he is “much happier being at home”.

“There was a temptation to get back on the road and do it again, but I think this one is a pretty good fit for me,” he said of his new role.

“I had a few interesting offers which were tempting. I had a couple of top 10 players reach out – one was a US player and the other was European. But that would have meant I was 35 to 40 weeks away and at the time that didn’t really jump out to me that I wanted to do that.

“Here, my worst travel is interstate and I’m getting to spend time with Aussie players, which is what I wanted to do as well.”

He did admit, however, there was a hint of excitement when he recently received an intriguing call from Barty.

“I was up in Brisbane not long ago and she said ‘are you bringing your racquets?’,” he related.

“I said ‘why?’ and she said, ‘I want to hit a few balls’. I thought, ‘okay, that’s interesting’.”

It turns out the 28-year-old Barty is preparing to compete in the ladies’ invitational doubles event at Wimbledon this year, where she will reunite with Casey Dellacqua. The Aussie duo are close friends and contested four Grand Slam doubles finals as a team.

“I told her I don’t think we need a training week for that,” he laughed.

Tyzzer is proud to see his former charge happy and enjoying life, so is not anticipating a full-time return at this stage.

“With Ash you never know, but she’s pretty adamant she’s never coming back,” he said.

“The last time she came back it was the competitive stuff that she missed, but she’s super busy with (her son) Hayden and family is her goal now. She’s enjoying that immensely. She’s spending a bit of time with (her husband) Garry with the golf as well.”

Read more in our Coaching Spotlight series:
> Brad Boynton: A local leader uniting a rural community
> Brad Dyer: Embracing journey with rising star Taylah Preston
> Codie George: Inspired after learning from the best
> Tim Low: High rewards for community coach
> Alwyn Musumeci: A young leader with big dreams
> Annabel Taylor: Former Australian No.1 now guiding next generation
> Lara Walker: Proudly inspiring young girls

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