Ashleigh Barty discusses Wimbledon, her Olympic ‘dream’ and being her ‘authentic self’ with media


Three weeks after being forced out of Roland Garros, where she won her first and only Grand Slam in 2019, Barty is back on the pitch after going through what she calls a period of “slow rehabilitation”.

It’s been over 40 years since Evonne Goolagong won at Wimbledon – the last Australian woman to do so – while Alicia Molik is the only Australian to have won a singles medal at the Olympics.

If Barty, who has won 11 titles, won either competition, it would be a milestone in his career.

“Every growing child, every athlete whose sport or code is entered into the Olympics dares to dream (of winning gold),” the 25-year-old told Amanda Davies of CNN Sport.

“I think it’s a huge part of being an athlete. It’s a huge part of the sport.”

Barty is coming back from injury after being forced to withdraw from Roland Garros earlier this month.

Particular inspiration for Barty is Cathy Freeman, the Australian 400m runner who lit up the Sydney Olympics in 2000 when she ran for gold.

“In Australia the nation has come to a standstill, the world has come to a halt in its run,” explains Barty.

“I told her a bit about her experiences and we share mentors. For me, learning from her experiences has been really special.

“But hearing them as a friend as well is really cool, just to know what she’s been through in her career and her different challenges and the things that she loved. Being able to learn from Cathy is the best of the best, and j was certainly very lucky. “

Team spirit

With the ban on international spectators at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Barty will not have the same level of fervent support that Australian fans usually give at sporting events, but she hopes to draw motivation from her teammates nonetheless.

“We have such a rich history of really successful Australian Olympians, and I think it’s not always all about success – it’s about bringing the team together and coming together,” said -it.

“I think the camaraderie you see in the Australian teams is remarkable, I think nobody really understands that feeling you have. I got a very little taste of it in Fed Cup and in a few different Australian teams, but nothing like an Australian Olympic team. “

As for Wimbledon, which begins on Monday after being called off amid the pandemic last year, Barty hopes to progress beyond the knockout stages for the first time in this year’s competition.

Barty returns against Harriet Dart at Wimbledon in 2019.

After triumphing there as a junior in 2011, the turf grand slam is a tournament close to his heart, in addition to being his favorite surface.

“Just stepping into the All England Club again gives you goosebumps,” says Barty, Jaguar Ambassador.

“And every time you walk through the doors you are in awe. This is one of the most amazing places on Earth and definitely one of my favorites to come back to.”

“The best version of myself”

Absent from the women’s draw at Wimbledon this year will be Naomi Osaka, who announced she would skip the tournament after retiring from Roland Garros earlier this month.
It came after four-time Grand Slam winner Osaka refused to speak to the media at Roland Garros, claiming at the time that she had “suffered from long periods of depression” since winning her first major title in 2018 and wanted after his sanity.

For her part, Barty says she sees the media as “an integral part” of the job, although she also recognizes that the process is not without its challenges.

“Our sport would certainly not be where it is without the media and without being able to share our thoughts,” she said.

“Of course, it is sometimes difficult. I will never hide behind the fact that some of my most difficult times were in the press rooms. But that’s okay. I think it isn’t. neither is the end.

“I try to do my best to be a tennis player and go out there and be the best version of myself and just be my authentic self. I feel like I have nothing to hide.

“I can’t comment on how Naomi feels. She has a completely different career than me, each has their own challenges and their own unique story… I hope she has a support network around her, that she talk to whomever she needs. “

After enjoying a successful junior career, Barty took a hiatus from tennis in 2014, later claiming that the sport had become “robotic” and that she was “a victim of my own success”.

She turned to cricket and secured a versatile contract with Brisbane Heat in Australia, before returning to tennis in 2016.

“It was my decision. I am responsible for all of my decisions in my life and my career,” Barty said of his absence from the sport.

“I certainly can’t say it would work for everyone, but it worked for me.”

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