Ash Barty, on a high after reaching her first Wimbledon final, has revealed how close she was to having her dream run at the All England Club cruelled by a hip injury.
- Ash Barty has paid tribute to her team for helping her recover from injury in time to make a charge to the Wimbledon final
- Barty was forced to pull out of the French Open a month ago with a serious hip problem
- She now has the chance to become the first Australian woman since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980 to win at Wimbledon
And Australia’s first female Wimbledon finalist since her heroine Evonne Goolagong Cawley 41 years ago admitted she was never sure the historic day would materialise.
Buoyant after her superb 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) defeat of Angelique Kerber in the semi-final on Thursday (local time), Barty admitted it had actually been touch-and-go whether she would compete at the British grand slam after the injury suffered in the second round at the French Open.
The 25-year-old even reckoned that a month ago when struggling so badly with the left hip problem that forced her out at Roland Garros, she did not think a Wimbledon final was in her future.
“I mean, we had 23 or 24 days in between finishing up in Paris and my first round here,” reflected Barty, after playing what she felt was one of the highest-quality matches of her career.
“To know that my body’s held up over a fortnight off a different preparation, and just being able to accept that I could trust everything that we’ve done to the best of our ability, is incredible.”
Barty paid tribute to her team led by coach Craig Tyzzer, who orchestrated her rehabilitation.
“I think it’s pretty special what we’ve been able to do the last month.”
Asked when she first believed she could make a Wimbledon final, Barty conceded: “I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen, honestly.
“I think you have to keep putting yourself in the position. Wimbledon for me has been an amazing place of learning.
“Ten years ago, I came here for the first time as a junior and learned a lot in that week [when she won the girls’ title].
“Probably 2018 [when she lost to Daria Kasatkina], 2019 [when she was beaten by Alison Riske] was some of my toughest weeks playing.
“To come away with losses in those two tournaments, I learned a hell of a lot from those two times.
“I’ve learned so much with all my experiences — the good, bad and everything in between.”
It had been an incredible journey, she told the Centre Court crowd which had been warming to her by the day.
“I’ve had ups and downs, and everything in between, and I wouldn’t change one day or one moment, or one route we’ve taken on my path,” she said.
“It’s been unique, it’s been incredible, it’s been tough, and I wouldn’t change one thing about it.
“I’m enjoying every single day that we get to come out here and do what I love, and being able to on the final Saturday here at Wimbledon is gonna be just the best experience ever.”