Ashleigh Barty insists her diminutive size shouldn’t be a barrier to winning Wimbledon and believes she boasts the power game needed to claim the greatest prize in tennis.
Barty ended Australia’s eight-year wait for major when she won the French Open on Saturday.
She will now head into the grass-court season in career-best form having won 31 matches – more than any other player on the WTA Tour – this year.
The new world No.2 was too hot to handle for Marketa Vondrousova in the Roland Garros decider with her power belying her 1.66 metre frame.
Barty is the shortest player in the current top 10 at 1.66m and dwarfed by recent top 10 players Karolina Pliskova (1.86m), Garbine Muguruza (1.82m) and Serena WIlliams (1.75m).
Although current All England champion Angelique Kerber (1.72) is also not from the land of the giants, none of the last 13 players to have lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish, across a 38-year span, were under 1.7 metres.
American great Chris Evert was the same height as Barty when she won the last of her three Wimbledon titles in 1981 against Hana Mandlikova.
But despite her lack of centimetres, the Queenslander’s record on grass is more than respectable and she considers it her favourite surface.
In 2011 she won junior Wimbledon and was victorious at the Nottingham Open last year in addition to reaching the decider at the Birmingham Classic 12 months earlier.
Barty credits the coaching received in her formative years from junior mentor in Brisbane Jim Joyce for giving her the solid platform for success on all surfaces.
“But I’m not that little. I was very fortunate that my coach developed this game and created this game that was technically sound,” Barty said.
“I know that my technique is sound and that I can trust it.
It’s been a natural progression of becoming stronger, not growing any taller, but getting stronger and being able to trust myself and hit my spots on my serve.”
Barty’s coach Craig Tyzzer revealed after her win in Paris how she demands daily that he and the support staff around her work tirelessly on every aspect of her game.
“Her drive is one of the strongest aspects of her game,” Tyzzer said.
“She has pushed all of us in her team hard to get better and do more for her. She requires that and really pushes us for it.”
Barty insists her hard work will pay dividends and believes her serve and on-court smarts are what have made her one of the top players in the world.
“My serve is a massive part of my game, and I try and think my way around the court,” she said.
“I know where opponents like to return, and if they shift their position, where they return. And I try and expose those spots as best as I can.
“It’s just a part of my game that I work on a lot. I work on it, I practice it, and I think that’s the only way around it.”