It is the Barty way.
Without fanfare or the glare of the media, Queensland’s world No.1 Ash Barty is ensuring her legacy as one of the state’s most successful tennis players will be much more than a collection of silverware.
For the past few months, as regional Queensland emerged from COVID 19 restrictions, Ash’s father, Rob Barty, has been on a mission to share the secrets of bringing up not only a Grand Slam champion, but a humble, grounded and likeable sporting role model for Australia.
Fourteen clubs from Edmonton to Dalby and between have had the privilege of Rob’s candid talks about the ups and downs of guiding his daughter to the top of professional tennis.
“Ash and I really wanted to do this, but Ash is driving it. It is her small way of giving back to the tennis community in her home state. We want to help other parents and players by telling them what it’s like to be a professional player, including the pitfalls,” Rob said.
“I talk about what we did from when Ash was six years old. I don’t tell people what to do just give them something to consider by explaining the system we used, which is basically keep Mum and Dad out of it and leave it to the professionals.”
60 people heard Rob’s message at the Roma & District Tennis Club in August, President, Baden Waldron said there were many stories that hit home.
“The one that really got me was about a discussion involving her first coach Jim Joyce, Ash and her parents when Ash when she was very young. Rob said Jim had 4 rules. 1. Be Happy; 2. Be a Nice Person; 3. Have fun and 4. Show Respect and Be Respected- following that if you can play tennis it’s an added Bonus“, Baden said.
Rob is planning on his next round of rural club visits, with a two week trip currently being planned for Central and West Queensland.
“No question is off limits when I speak. When Ash decided to quit in 2014, Josie and I never thought she’d go back but we never once tried to talk her out of her decision. It was too much too young, but this second time around she has built the team around her,” Rob added.
Rob’s commitment to helping the next generation of Queensland tennis professionals and the wider tennis community has no expiry date.
“As long as I keep getting invited by the clubs, I will continue to do it”.