I feel as though Barty truly appreciates where she is now, and where she is going, because of what has come before. This is her second tennis career – she walked away from the first because her heart wasn’t in it, as there was too much pressure on her and it wasn’t fun. Then she changed her mind and came back, and it was a good thing for tennis that she did. She has rediscovered the fun of playing tennis, and her ascent has been steady; she has been getting better and better.
Barty took advantage of the mayhem in Paris, with a kind of collective collapse among the pre-tournament favourites. It was a weird tournament, with the high seeds going out early, and with Simona Halep not looking relaxed in the defence of her title. Barty’s performance against Marketa Vondrousova in the final was phenomenal. It was just a bad match-up for Vondrousova, who likes to disrupt opponents with her drop-shot and slice backhand, but couldn’t hurt Barty at all with those shots. Barty was too confident and too poised, with everything working for her. Vondrousova simply had no weapons with which she could hurt Barty.
In recent years, Barty has matured with her shot selection, as well as her game overall, including cutting down on the unforced errors. It’s not about hitting fantastic winners. Champions simply make the shots they are supposed to make and that is exactly what Barty did in Paris. And by winning on clay, she has now figured out how to win on any surface.