Australia’s favourite tennis girl next door Ash Barty has been knocked out of the Australian Open after losing to Czech Karolina Muchova on Wednesday.
The current World No.1 is out after a 6-1, 3-6, 2-6 quarter-final loss at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
The match saw Muchova take a medical time out at 2-1 in the second set. Muchova asked for the time after feeling dizzy on court.
It was a time-out which altered 24-year-old Barty’s path to success.
“It’s within the rules … that’s the laws of our game that we have those medical time outs when they’re needed,” said Barty after the match.
“I’m disappointed that I let it become a turning point.”
With Barty out of the race, no Australian is in the running to take home the Australian Open title. It has been 43 years since an Australian competitor has taken home the trophy.
Chris O’Neil was the last home-grown talent to take the title in in 1978.
Barty has a packed full schedule for 2021, one that may see her spending Christmas out of the country.
“We’re planning on going to the Middle East. We’ve entered Doha, Dubai and Miami. We’ll head off to those tournaments,” said Barty’s coach Craig Tyzzer.
“Because of the quarantine arrangements here (in Australia), we won’t come back for a while. We’ll be away for a while if we go.”
Her plans include competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
“She’s down to play. She’s pretty keen to play,” Tyzzer said.
“We’re hoping for her that that goes ahead. She’s very excited.”
After spending much of 2020 off the court, Barty bounded back this month winning her ninth career title at the Yarra Valley Classic at Melbourne Park.
Tyzzer noted the power of her time away.
“It was an ideal opportunity to take a break after a long year in 2019, early 2020. So she probably only hit three to four times a week,” he said.
“I was able to actually watch her sessions from Melbourne through the camera set-up they have in Brisbane.
“I could hear what was going on and everything, but I just had to ring her on the phone if there was anything, I wanted her to do, work on anything, I could contact her during those sessions and say, ‘work on this, try this’.”
By Rachael Knowles