Wimbledon 2021 | Ash Barty’s upbringing, childhood coach Jim Joyce, mum and dad

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PETER PSALTIS is the host of 4BC’s Wide World of Sports in Brisbane. Catch his show from Monday-Thursday at 6-7pm!

I admit, I cried on Saturday night when Ash Barty won Wimbledon.

I cried because I was happy for Ash winning and fulfilling a childhood dream. 

But the emotion spilled over when I thought about those who have helped her along the way.

Ash’s mum and dad, Josie and Rob, and her older sisters Sara and Ali. The love and support and importantly, encouragement, they gave to Ash right from the beginning. Her older sisters were also great levellers for Ash, particularly early on in the journey.

Look at the way Ash always handles herself, never a bad word is said about her. That comes down to her magnificent upbringing. 

I know Ash has her team now headed-up by Craig Tyzzer but I think in moments like this, it’s right to acknowledge those who helped along the way.

There have been coaches and managers along the way but there has been one constant in Ash’s life and career, and that is her first coach at West Brisbane Centre, Jim Joyce.

If not for Jim, I don’t think Ash would still be playing the game. He’s had a profound impact on her life on and off the court.

He taught her the importance of bringing variety into her game. Physically, Ash is up against more imposing and more powerful opponents on the WTA tour, but none of them can match her when it comes to tennis smarts. She has always been so clever on the court.

I was coaching with Jim at West Brisbane Tennis Centre when Ash first started and for years, I saw first hand how Jim laid the foundations for what we saw on Saturday night.

I enjoyed being on the court with Ash because it was clear early on that she was a special talent and a special person.

One thing that Jim did early on was give perspective. His words of advice helped Ash remain grounded and at the same time, motivated.

In a master stroke, Jim had Ash playing against older adults from a young age. She got used to playing against bigger and more powerful hitters of the ball. She also got used to combating different styles of games as well. Although on the downside, it wasn’t fun when she practiced her drop shots on me!

The message from Jim to Ash remained the same throughout Ash’s career. It’s a special player/coach relationship.

I wonder if Ash realises how many people she has inspired throughout her life. In many ways, I’ve been inspired by her. Her journey to the top hasn’t been an easy one, she’s had to overcome many challenges.

Congratulations, Ash. Your victory at Wimbledon on the weekend will go down as one of the great moments in Australian sport.

I hope Ash, her family and her team – past and present – enjoy the moment.

They certainly deserve it.

Ash Barty, world No.1 and Wimbledon champion … yep! That sounds pretty good to me.

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