Ash Barty has explained the reason she tuned out from watching her Australian Open final rival in an answer that said everything.
Ash Barty says she didn’t watch the second women’s singles semi-final on Thursday night and clearly doesn’t care.
The World No. 1 is agonisingly close to becoming the country’s first women’s singles Australian Open champion since Chris O’Neil in 1978 — 44 years ago.
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She is just the sixth Aussie woman in the Open era to play in the Aussie Open final after she demolished American Madison Keys 6-1 6-3 on Thursday night.
Barty had fans grinning in her post-match on-court interview with Jim Courier where she said with an earnest, deadpan expression that she wouldn’t watch the second semi-final, won by American Danielle Collins in brutal fashion.
She wasn’t joking either.
When Barty said she switches off, she means off.
“It will be a hell of a match tonight. I probably won’t watch it, though,” she said with a smile beginning to appear on her face.
“Tyzz (her coach Craig Tyzzer) can watch that. We keep doing our thing, our routines and come out here on Saturday, enjoy it, a massive smile on my face and see what happens.”
Barty has developed a reputation for appearing to have cheat notes on how to beat her opposition. Nobody is as well prepared. Nobody finds it this easy to make their opposition squirm.
Despite this reputation for scouting her opposition, Barty explained in her post match press conference she was deadly serious when she said she wouldn’t watch the rest of Collins’ emphatic 6-4 6-1 victory over Iga Swiatek.
She doesn’t need to.
At this point, Barty’s tennis IQ is enough for her to ace every exam without the need to study. She learns on the run and she learns instantly.
Whether it’s one service game or three — or five even — Barty will figure you out. You can’t run from it.
Her slice is unquestionably one of the great weapons in tennis right now, but the real weapon is the brain that sits on top of those powerful shoulders.
It’s one of the reasons she felt she didn’t need to study up on Collins on Thursday night.
“Occasionally I’ll have a peek at some matches if I haven’t seen someone play, but I don’t usually last too long,” she said of her false reputation for being a scouting nerd.
“There aren’t too many secrets out here anymore. A lot of the time you’ve practised with girls or played girls. It’s about who can execute the plan better on the day.
“When I haven’t seen someone play, that’s when I’ll really lean on Tyzz because I know that he’s the best at what he does in a sense of giving me a really clear picture of what to expect but also the possible changes and things that can happen.
“Then it’s about giving myself time to adapt and change as I’m playing the match, as well. But a lot of that comes from experience of feeling the ball either when we’ve practised with each other or playing against each other.”
She described Tyzzer as a “magician”.
“He’s able to look at a lot of different matches, look at some key matches, and recent, some old, and kind of work our plan out, looking at different conditions and things like that,” Barty said.
“He’s the man that does all the work. I just get to go out there and try and have fun with it.”
Barty’s cold shoulder to Collins on Thursday night wasn’t personal. It’s just standard operating procedure.
Barty heads into the final with a 3-1 record against Collins. The American won their most recent meeting at Adelaide in 2021.
Her path to the final has been extraordinary. She has won 12 consecutive sets in her six wins this fortnight and has spent just six hours on court, allowing her to walk into Saturday’s final fresh as a daisy.
She has not conceded more than four games in any of the sets she has played and has conceded just 21 games for the entire tournament.
Since the start of the 21st century, only Serena Williams (16 service games at the 2013 US Open and 19 service games at the 2012 US Open) and Venus Williams (20 service games at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships) have reached a final with less games conceded.
Barty is in scary form — and you would not want to miss it.