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‘She’s found her authenticity’: Ash Barty’s mentor reflects on her meteoric rise to world number one

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Australia’s Ash Barty became women’s tennis world number one overnight, after defeating Germany’s Julia Goerges in straight sets at the final of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

The man described as the secret weapon behind her success, Barty’s performance coach and mentor Ben Crowe, says the 23-year-old deserves full credit for her meteoric rise.

“She’s done all the heavy lifting. All the credit goes to Ash, for sure,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

Crowe, who has also worked with surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore, Richmond’s Trent Cotchin, premiership coach Alistair Clarkson, and the Australian cricket team, began working with the star tennis player after disappointing performance at Wimbledon last year.

He said Barty’s humble nature has helped her achieve success.

“She’s found her authenticity and has a beautiful perspective on herself away from the tennis court,” he said.

“She knows that playing tennis is what she does, but it’s not who she is.”

Crowe said expectations have not sabotaged the 23-year-old tennis star’s performance.

“She’s let go of all of the distractions that can sometimes sabotage athletic performance,” he said.

“Athletes get caught up in perfection myths, feeling like they’re not good enough, not strong enough, not fit enough.

“Ash has taken off that armour and just let herself be seen: real, raw, imperfect, vulnerable Ash Barty. From that authenticity she gives herself permission to make mistakes and fall down, but get up again and learn from that.”

Crowe is heading to England to help prepare Barty for her next challenge — Wimbledon.

The young Aussie is in a great position ahead of the British tournament, but her performance coach says she’s far from a shoo-in.

“I think she’s probably scared herself at the profound speed at which 2019 has progressed. The world is her oyster,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean those goals will be achieved, at all, because the world of tennis is changing so much.

“But I think she knows, if she puts those goals out there and goes after them, she’s got more likely a chance of achieving them than not.”

Press PLAY below to hear the full interview.