Barty’s French Open trophy treat for junior club
Ashleigh Barty maybe more than 14,500km away competing in the USA, but she is still inspiring a new generation of tennis players back at her spiritual home after allowing her French Open trophy to be displayed at the West Brisbane Tennis Centre.
Barty's replica trophy of the French Open she won on June 9 was taken to her junior courts last Saturday after her mentor Jim Joyce borrowed it from the Barty's family home to show his juniors.
The "Saturday morning crew'' as Joyce described them did their training as the French Open glistened court side in the Brisbane winter sunshine.
West Brisbane juniors and their parents enjoyed posing for photos with the famous trophy won by Barty, her first Gram Slam final win.
Many of Joyce's juniors were coached by Barty during her break from the sport several years ago, and seeing the trophy she won close up meant an enormous amount to them.
"I have photos from holiday clinics in 2014 when Ash was not playing and helping me coach and a lot of these kids are in those photos,'' Joyce said, looking at the rookies running around on the Archerfield Rd-courts.
"They have seen Ash when she gave up tennis and stopped playing, and they have seen Ash since and they have really been able to follow her,'' he said.
"A lot are quiet close to her.
"One said to be recently: 'Ash walked past me in the shops and remembered my name','' Joyce said.
"So for those kids, and even the kids that don't know her, they can see what she has done.
"And more importantly the way she behaves herself and her demeanour on the court, the way she holds herself.
"It is such a great influence on the kids these days.''
Brothers Harry and Aagash Murali said it was amazing to think they now trained on the same court as a French Open winner. "She is my favourite women's player,'' Aagash said.
Barty is preparing for the US Open which starts in New York on August 27.