Barty's talent clear from start: ex-coach

The former coach of Australian tennis star Ash Barty says she has been an outstanding player since she first walked onto a court at five years of age.

ASHLEIGH BARTY of Australia plays a forehand during her ladies singles quarter-final match of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France.
ASHLEIGH BARTY of Australia plays a forehand during her ladies singles quarter-final match of the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France. Picture: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

At the age of five, Australian Ash Barty's talent for tennis was immediately obvious to former coach Jim Joyce.

The young Barty arrived at Joyce's court at the West Brisbane Tennis Centre and was soon hitting with players twice her age.

"The thing that stood out was - her hand and eye coordination was amazing - but it was her focus and concentration for that age," Joyce said ahead of Barty's French Open final showdown against Czech Marketa Vondrousova.

"She was equal to any of the nine and 10-year-olds, actually, as far as that goes.

"She was outstanding."

The former coach was keen to heap praise on the Ipswich-born 23-year-old, saying the eighth seed had several standout traits.

"She just picked up things so quickly," Joyce said.

Barty, who came from a family of golfers, chose to play tennis after picking up an old wooden racquet and hitting a ball against a wall for hours.

"Ash would have made a fantastic golfer ... you should have seen her on a golf course," Joyce told reporters in Brisbane on Saturday.

"And she just wanted to play tennis, she didn't want to play team games.

"Her sisters were playing netball, she just wanted to play tennis."

If Barty wins on Saturday night, she will become Australia's first French Open singles champion since Margaret Court in 1973.


AAP