At the elite level in tennis, the skill in the top 100 athletes is so similar that the difference between a win and a loss can come down to one characteristic: mental fortitude.
Barty bowed out of Wimbledon to the unseeded American Amanda Riske in a tough three-setter overnight.
She won the first set, and lost the second two sets, to end a 21-set winning streak, that included her maiden Grand Slam triumph at the French Open.
It was a hot run that included many moments of celebration for Barty and her party.
The 23-year-old even started to drop a few Disney references into her post-match press conferences to, we suppose, spice up the repetitive questioning. She was on cloud nine.
She was bested by an unseeded American who had the guts to attack from the base-line against the world number one. Not easy! Riske opened up her shoulders from all parts of the court and lived up to her namesake, putting the pressure on Barty by repeatedly finding the line.
Naturally, Barty was disappointed, but she showed us why she had soared so high before the fourth-round loss with this quote in the post-match presser:
She was able to win at Roland Garros, claim 15-straight matches, and reach world no. 1 by keeping things in perspective. If you ever thought paying to see sport was not worth it, then you haven’t noticed life lessons like this handed out by 23-year-olds with the world at their feet.
What a leader!
It’s delightful to read the rest of her post-match quotes:
“It’s disappointing right now, but you give me an hour or so and I’ll be all good,” Barty said.
She even managed a subtle Annie reference to continue her Wimbledon Disney quote game.
“The sun’s still going to come up tomorrow,” she said.
“At times when I needed to back myself, the execution wasn’t quite there.”
In her loss we can see that she didn’t win only because of her skill level, she won because she saw each game for what it was: a game of tennis. A fun, athletic, game.
Barty’s gracious reaction to this match is worth considering in the light of another recent defeat.
Just a few days ago, Bernard Tomic announced he would be contesting Wimbledon’s fine handed out after his straight-sets loss to Jo Wilfred Tsonga in the first round.
Eighty thousand dollars were docked from the Australian because of his attitude during the match. He appeared not to even try at some points.
He said he felt sick and couldn’t give it his best.
“Flying from Turkey and losing in [the] quarter-finals [there], playing few matches in 40C heat and I was run down and became a bit unwell over the weekend,” Tomic told News Corp.
A loss is a loss, but the way you react to it is the difference between becoming world number one, and struggling to hold on to a top 100 placing.
Thank you Ash Barty for reminding us of the best in us, and encouraging us to keep things in perspective.
She is a true leader.
By Keiran Deck