Ash Barty is a very different person at the French Open this year

Ash Barty is a very different person to the one that was unstoppable in 2019 and skipped the 2020 WTA Tour.

She rolls into the French Open, having not lost at Roland Garros since 2018 — and her coach reckons she is a new person as a result of her time away from the sport.

Coach Craig Tyzzer says her decision to stay home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has revived her.

He says she is better prepared than she was previously to handle the slog of a 73 day world tour that will only allow her to return home after the Tokyo Olympics, beginning July 23.

Barty has been on the record in recent years talking about how she finds it difficult to leave home.

This time there has been a “dramatic shift” according to The Telegraph’s Simon Briggs.

Tyzzer admits there has been a shift in Barty.

“Being at home through most of 2020 gave us a different look at everything,” Tyzzer said.

“Being able to spend time at home, realising it is actually a pretty good situation to be in to be able to go and play tennis for your job and enjoy it, there was a shift in perception for both of us. We realised that there are worse things going on out there at the moment with Covid.”

He said Barty’s desire to stay at home has softened as a result.

Related: Barty, Nadal drop truth bombs on Osaka

Ash Barty means business in Paris.Source:Getty Images

“She was a bit freer, able to go to the football, go watch friends play cricket. I just think that she got that out of her system,” he said.

“Since then, she has been fully invested and fully involved and playing good tennis.”

Barty is 11-2 this clay court season in Europe with losses only to Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the Madrid Open and when she retired injured in Rome.

She is one of the favourites to extend her run at Roland Garros and to hold onto the No. 1 ranking for a 72nd consecutive week.

Barty vacated her Roland Garros title after skipping much of the 2020 season citing health and travel risks.

The world number one has won three titles this year and reached the Madrid final, but an arm injury at the Italian Open forced her out of the quarter-finals and cast doubt over her fitness in Paris.

“I think coming back to the site here at Roland Garros is obviously pretty special, pretty cool,” said Barty who tackles Bernarda Pera of the United States in the first round.

“A lot of it I also don’t remember and feels like it was such a long time ago. It’s certainly a clean slate for us this week.”

— with AFP

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