What would you do if the world’s number one tennis player answered the phone?
It is not a question that many people would ever have to answer, however at a press conference ahead of the Adelaide International, Ash Barty took the opportunity to answer the phone of ABC Grandstand’s Joel Peterson, who left his phone on when using it to record the interview.
“Does anyone know a Kez that’s got a grandma emoji?” Barty asked as the offending phone began to buzz on the table in front of her.
“Yeah,” came the call from Peterson at the back of the press conference, who told ABC Radio Adelaide Tuesday morning that he “immediately” knew it was his phone.
“I heard a buzzing noise and immediately just went that’s mine. As soon as I heard it I knew,” Peterson said.
Peterson’s plea to turn his phone to aeroplane mode went unanswered by Barty — not averse to having some fun during her press conferences — who instead, answered.
“Hey Kez,” Barty said, to the presumably shocked caller.
“I think she hung up on me …” Barty said to laughter before the conversation continued.
“You still there? Hello. Who are you trying to reach?
“It’s Ash Barty, who’s this?
“He left his phone on during a press conference.”
At this point, the conversation came to an abrupt halt as the caller hung up, to Barty’s surprise.
“She hung up on me!” Barty said to laughter in the conference room.
Conversation over, Barty still took time to admire the screen photo on the phone before continuing with the press conference.
“Cute dog though,” she said.
The mystery caller was later revealed to be Peterson’s partner, Carlton AFLW co-captain Kerryn Harrington, who admitted to being “absolutely star struck” during her surprise conversation.
“When Ash said ‘It’s Ash Barty’, Kez didn’t even hear that from what she told me. She was still trying to work out who it was and only when she hung up did she realise ‘Oh, hang on, that’s not a stitch-up. That was actually Ash Barty’.
“She thought she was going to get me in trouble or something and that’s why she hung up because she didn’t at the time realise it was actually Ash Barty.
“She’s copped a fair bit from her teammates that’s for sure but I think she was pretty starstruck when she worked out who it was. We’ve spent plenty of nights over the last year or so staying up and watching Ash at the French Open or Wimbledon.
“To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure whether she would have been able to get a word out whether she’d realised it was Ash Barty or not because she would have been that starstruck. I feel as though this is a story that might come up for a while yet at family events.”
— kerryn harrington (@kez_harrington) January 13, 2020
Harrington also admitted she had missed a trick by not asking Barty to abandon tennis and turn her hand to AFL with Carlton.
Barty is not the first to take a call on behalf of an embarrassed journalist, with Australian Test captain Tim Paine among those to take a message mid-press conference.