Rising Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty feels that her time in the Women’s Big Bash League for the Brisbane helped improve her as a person and a player.
The 22-year-old took a break from tennis from 2014 to 2016 and feels that the time away from the game centred her and helped her make a step up on the court.
Barty came back from one-set down to see off Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday, booking a place in the quarterfinals of Australian Open.
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She played nine T20 games in the 2015-16 season for the Brisbane Heat franchise alongside Australia international stars Jess Jonassen and Beth Mooney.
“I needed to take that time away,” said Barty.
“For me, having that 18 months off was vital. I feel like I came back a better person on and off the court, a better tennis player.”
The world number fifteen ranked player says that unlike Tennis, cricket is not a lonesome sport with teammates always around to back her up.
She had said: “There’s never a lonesome moment on the [cricket] field if you’re struggling. There’s 10 other girls that can help you out and get you through the tough times.”
Barty’s best display for the Heat came in her WBBL debut against Melbourne Stars, she scored a rapid 39 in just 27 deliveries.
She would make 68 runs in seven innings that season before switching her focus back to tennis and tasting success.
Barty won the US Open doubles title with American partner CoCo Vandeweghe in 2018 and has now become the first Australian woman since Jelena Dokic to make the quarterfinals at the Melbourne-hosted Grand Slam.