The untold story of Australian tennis wonder Ash Barty

The untold story of Australian tennis wonder Ash Barty
The untold story of Australian tennis wonder Ash Barty

Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty battled through depression before becoming the best player on the women's circuit.

Five years ago this would have seemed unlikely as her junior professional career proved too much to bear.

Suffering depression, Barty shocked many after quitting the sport indefinitely.

A young Ash Barty clings onto a trophy in 2002.

A young Ash Barty clings onto a trophy in 2002.

She moved to Melbourne and dabbled with cricket before fate dragged her back to  the court, where she realised she belonged.

And as Barty makes history at the Australian Open, a photo of her as a little girl holding a trophy has gone viral once again. 

The photo was taken by her parents, who gave a hard copy to her coach Jim Joyce.

'Ash said to me recently at the races that if the day ever arrived where we left those courts she would have a farewell where the photo was taken,' Joyce told the Courier Mail.

'Just get two chairs, a bottle of Grange and some nibbles and chat about the journey.'

Ash Barty (left) pictured with one of her older sisters Sara (right)

Ash Barty (left) pictured with one of her older sisters Sara (right)

Barty picked up a racket aged four because 'didn't want to play what she thought was a girls' game'

Barty picked up a racket aged four because 'didn't want to play what she thought was a girls' game'

Barty is the youngest child of Robert, a Ngarigo Indigenous Australian, and Josie, the daughter of English immigrants, and was born and raised in Ipswich, Queensland.

Her two sisters, Sara and Ali, played netball but Barty picked up a racket aged four.

This was because 'didn't want to play what she thought was a girls' game', her father told the Sydney Morning Herald.   

Joyce took Barty under his wing after noticing she had a natural talent for the sport. 

Barty was five when she arrived at Joyce's court at the West Brisbane Tennis Centre and was soon hitting with players twice her age.

'The thing that stood out was - her hand and eye coordination was amazing - but it was her focus and concentration for that age,' Joyce said.

'She was equal to any of the nine and 10-year-olds, actually, as far as that goes.

'She was outstanding.'

Joyce said Barty's talents as a sportsperson were far-reaching and coming from a family of golfers she was also decent with a club. 

'She just picked up things so quickly,' Joyce said. 

'Ash would have made a fantastic golfer ... you should have seen her on a golf course.

Barty (right) and two-time Wimbledon winner Evonne Goolagong-Cawley talk to media at Brisbane International Tennis Centre, July 6, 2011. Barty had won the Wimbledon girls singles

Barty (right) and two-time Wimbledon winner Evonne Goolagong-Cawley talk to media at Brisbane International Tennis Centre, July 6, 2011. Barty had won the Wimbledon girls singles

The teenager was then sent abroad, where she competed in international tours without her parents at the age of 14 (Barty is pictured second from right)

The teenager was then sent abroad, where she competed in international tours without her parents at the age of 14 (Barty is pictured second from right)

Junior tennis coach Jim Joyce took Barty under his wing after noticing she had a natural talent for the sport. Barty was five when she arrived at Joyce's court at the West Brisbane Tennis Centre and was soon hitting with players twice her age

Junior tennis coach Jim Joyce took Barty under his wing after noticing she had a natural talent for the sport. Barty was five when she arrived at Joyce's court at the West Brisbane Tennis Centre and was soon hitting with players twice her age

'And she just wanted to play tennis, she didn't want to play team games.

'Her sisters were playing netball, she just wanted to play tennis.' 

By the age of nine, Barty was training with boys six years older than her, and at 12 she was playing against adult men.

The teenager was then sent abroad, where she competed in international tours without her parents at the age of 14.  

Barty recalled her first international tour in Europe where she was riddled with homesickness.

She would phone her parents crying almost every evening, but despite the struggle she managed to power through the competitions.

Barty shakes hands with Serena Williams during last years French Open

Barty shakes hands with Serena Williams during last years French Open

Barty has been with her fiance, PGA Trainee professional Garry Kissick, since 2017

Barty has been with her fiance, PGA Trainee professional Garry Kissick, since 2017

Pictured in December 2010: Barty is awarded Female Junior Athlete of the Year at the Newcombe Medal Awards. She is seen posing with Bernard Tomic

Pictured in December 2010: Barty is awarded Female Junior Athlete of the Year at the Newcombe Medal Awards. She is seen posing with Bernard Tomic

The 14-year-old was also invited to Las

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