Barty to learn from Aus Open loss
ASHLEIGH Barty leads a double life which is only going to get more hectic.
A fortnight ago, she was leading the life of professional tennis player, rubbing shoulders with the world's best as she debuted at the Junior Australian Open at Melbourne Park.
This week, she is slipping back into her other guise, that of grade 10 Woodcrest College student, but it won't be long before she swaps again.
Ashleigh achieved her goal of making the Junior Australian Open, but couldn't progress past the first round.
The 14-year-old had the misfortune of drawing 17-year-old third seed Lauren Davis first up.
“I was disappointed with the way I played,” Ashleigh said.
“But that's what happens.
“Somebody has got to get the tough draw.
“(Davis) was in the main draw of the Australian Open so it was always going to be tough.”
Even given the calibre of opponent, Ashleigh felt she did not give a true account of herself.
“I think nerves were a bit of it,” she said.
“I felt a bit of pressure. It was one of those days. You can't play your best every day.”
Ashleigh has only just recovered from a back injury, which had reduced her preparation but she refused to use that as an excuse, demonstrating the sort of attitude that has good judges predicting huge things from her.
“Perhaps it did (affect me) a little bit,” she said.
“I hadn't spent much time on court or in the gym.
“I was feeling a bit low on confidence and form and had only been practising for a week back.
“But I was ready to go.
“In the doubles the next day, I did fine.”
Unfortunately, Ashleigh and her doubles partner, New Caledonia's Anaeve Pain, couldn't progress past the first round in the doubles either.
“I just have to deal with the nerves and pressure a bit better,” Ashleigh said of the next time she gets a chance on a big stage like the Junior Australian Open.
“I'll just try and prepare a bit better.
“I couldn't do much about it.”
Davis has as much of a reputation for sledging, or trash talking, as she does for good tennis and was coming off a four-month unbeaten streak when she met Ashleigh.
However, the Springfield teenager said there were no issues and neither Davis' reputation nor behaviour contributed to her nervous performance.
“It is not directed at the players,” Ashleigh said.
“It's more for the press.”
Despite bowing out earlier than she would have liked, Barty took plenty from her glimpse at the big time.
“It was good to be around all the professional players,” she said.
“We were using the same areas as them so it was good to see what they do before and after their matches.
“Just the professionalism.”
Back at home, Barty has returned to school at Woodcrest College but will be on the road again before long.
She has three weeks to train and get fit before heading to tournaments in Sydney and Mildura.
It makes schooling difficult but Barty is adept at studying while on tour. “It is pretty tough,” she said.
“But school is great.
“They're very flexible and the teachers email my work to me.”