The no-fuss, no-frills Barty left home in March, looking to make what she could of a season that has steered clear of the familiar. The world No.1 claimed five titles, notching up a seamless 40-7 win-loss record in a world that’s furiously competing to list its struggles of coping during a pandemic. Barty simply smiles.
The other end of the US Open women’s draw is held up by heavyweight ball strikers – world No.2 Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka and Japan’s Naomi Osaka, perhaps the most complete player on the Tour since Serena Williams.
Barty and Osaka maybe opposites in style and presentation, but they share common ground beyond the chalked lines. Barty’s work with indigenous children, where she’s using tennis as an educational tool, is motivating. “The Indigenous tennis youth is something that’s very close to my heart,” Barty said. “Evonne Goolagong inspired me to pick up a tennis racquet.”
Barty, who followed in Goolagong’s footsteps in July, winning her maiden Wimbledon title on the 50th anniversary of the legendary Aussie’s first title, will look to extend that association in New York where Goolagong made four successive singles finals from 1973. Maybe better it even.