Ash Barty’s close friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua has played down John McEnroe’s advice to the world No.1 after the legend implored Barty to change the way she behaves on court in front of her home crowd.
Speaking on Nine following Barty’s semi-final loss to Sofia Kenin, McEnroe observed that the crowd had struggled to get into the match and claimed the Aussie needed to do more to try to get them involved.
While agreeing that Barty doesn’t have a personality that “draws crowds into matches” Dellacqua said there were other factors to consider for yesterday’s subdued atmosphere.
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“Yeah look, I do understand what he’s saying and there are personalities that tend to draw the crowds into matches,” Dellacqua said.
“I think Ash’s personality doesn’t do that as much. But in saying that, I sat courtside and half the crowd was in that boiling sun and there’s no doubt that played a factor.
“Also I feel like at night the crowd for some reason gets into the matches slightly better than in the day, I don’t know why but the atmosphere at Rod Laver Arena has a different feel in the day to the night.”
Barty had two set points in both the first and second sets but couldn’t convert any of them, costing her a place in the final.
Given her status as the world No.1 and the fact that her opponent was playing her first grand slam semi final that result was met with widespread disappointment in Australia, a reaction that Dellacqua found bemusing.
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“I know as an Australian player there’s always expectation, there’s always pressure to want to win the tournament and I get that but at the same time let’s just put things into perspective, what she’s achieved has been fantastic, she came up against a really tough competitor,” Dellacqua said.
“I thought it was always going to be a tough match but Ash has done a great job and I’m really proud of her.”
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