For Tyzzer, Coaching Barty Is Not A Chore

Craig Tyzzer (photo: Fiona Hamilton/Tennis Australia)

MELBOURNE/WASHINGTON, February 16, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Craig Tyzzer began working with Ashleigh Barty on a full-time basis at the start of the 2016 season. He’s guided the affable Aussie from winning her first WTA Tour singles title at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2017 – while ranked in the low 300s – to her first Grand Slam crown at the 2019 French Open to her rise as the world’s No. 1-ranked women’s tennis player.

“Tyz,” as Barty always refers to him by his nickname, has been the Queenslander’s North Star, someone to inspire and motivate, and in helping to shape her success as professional.

Tyzzer, who is in his early 60s and married with four children, was recognized in 2017 and again in 2018 as the Newcombe Medal winner, awarded for coaching excellence and performance in Australia, and named for the Australian Hall of Fame great John Newcombe. The WTA honored him as Coach of the Year in 2019 following Barty’s on-court success.

During a WTA press conference for coaches on Tuesday, Tyzzer was asked what impresses him most about Barty’s game. He answered: “I think the fact that she’s just been able to compete non-stop, like she’s actually put herself in situations and just competed point by point. I don’t feel like she got ahead of herself – maybe once. But she’s just been able to nail that side of it where she’s just competed point by point every match, played it on its merits, and it’s worked for her.

“I mean, the fact that she’s been giving everything, she’s been able to get across the line, is really pleasing. If she gave everything and lost, it would still be okay. We’ve got some work to do. She’s actually still going in this tournament, so we still got work to do. We’re going each match, working on the next opponent, which is the stuff we like to do.

“For Ash, this is probably idea preparation, even if just for the rest of the year.”

When Tyzzer was quizzed how he would describe his relationship with Barty and how it’s evolved since the two began working together, he said: “Yeah, look, I actually find it quite easy with Ash. She’s easy to coach. She works on the things we discuss. There’s never it’s just me telling her what to do. Ash has such a good tennis IQ, it’s working things through, working out ways to get around.

“Yeah, I feel like it’s a really good coach-player relationship. We enjoy our whole group, the way we go about it. We don’t want to make it a chore. We actually want to enjoy what we do. We really do enjoy what we’re doing.

“Yeah, I feel like it works pretty well.”

After Barty won her round of 16 match against unseeded Shelby Rogers of the United States on Monday, which advanced her to the quarterfinal round, her mindset began to focus on the next obstacle involving her team. “I think obviously we will sit down and try and work out a game plan and how we want to try and execute the match as best we can,” she said.

“From there, we try and work on a couple of specifics we might want to do, whether it’s with Tyz, my coach, with my trainer, with whoever it is, whatever it is we need to do to try and figure out a way how we’re going to try and win that tennis match, and then we just go to work and try and execute.”

Queried if he’s surprised that Barty has arrived in the quarterfinals, where she will face No. 25 seed Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic on Wednesday, Tyzzer said: “To be where we’re at is fantastic, to keep playing in a Grand Slam, it’s always difficult to win matches. You’ve got to be there on the day, win seven matches to get there. She knows how tough it is to do. She’s done it once before.

“She’s preparing the best she can. She’s getting ready every day, doing all the right things. The best part is when she’s going out, she’s really competing really well.

“I just hope that keeps going. I know if she goes out and does her best, her best is often good enough.”

Advancing to men’s doubles semifinals

Advancing to women’s doubles semifinals

Wheelchair doubles titles awarded

Phillip Island Trophy reaches quarterfinals

The WTA 250-series Phillip Island Trophy, which is comprised of early-round losers in the Australian Open and is taking place at Melbourne Park alongside the Happy Slam, has reached the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles.

There are five seeds remaining in the singles draw, led by No. 2 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada, No. 4 seed Petra Martic of Croatia and No. 8 seed Danielle Collins of the United States.

The top-seeded doubles team of the Chan sisters, Hao-Ching and Latisha, from Taiwan and No. 7 seeds Makoto Ninomaya of Japan and Wang Yafan from China are the only seeded teams remaining.

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By the numbers

What they’re saying

Looking back on Day Nine