WTA Insider: How would you describe your headspace at the moment?
Barty: Yeah, I think for me, it kind of took me a little while to wrap my head around it, as it probably did for everyone across the whole world. Obviously everyone is in a bit of a unique situation, depending on what country they're from and all the governing bodies making different decisions. It's a little bit different.
But I think the best part for me is there's always a silver lining, there's always something that we could be grateful for. There's always a perspective that you can take that can allow you to appreciate it better.
For me, it's being able to spend some time with my family and just really appreciate the little things in life.
WTA Insider: With the fluid nature of the pandemic and so much uncertainty, speaking as an athlete, how do you handle a stoppage like this? You are all so used to schedules, rigidity, and predictability.
Barty: It's challenging, it's different. It's obviously a situation I've probably never been in before just because there is so much of the unknown.
But yeah, I think at the moment it's not really a time where we can worry about it because it's a decision that's taken out of our hands. And I think as an international sport, as a global sport, there's the potential that it could be even longer. Because in my eyes, I feel like it needs to be fair for everyone. I know in Australia where we're moving in the right direction, we're doing quite well. But obviously, tennis players are based all around the world. We need to make sure that their health is looked after and everyone's prepared and ready to go for that day whenever it may be.
It's a little bit weird, that's for sure. But it's about maintaining and also not worrying about it, not stressing about it, not focusing on it. It's something out of our control.
WTA Insider: Do you have things that scratch your competitive itch right now?
Barty: Yeah, I still have plenty. At home with Gary, we have a couple of golf setups and we can have putting competitions at home and kicking competitions out in the backyard. The golf game is certainly moving in the right direction, so that's a positive thing. The puzzles are great for my mind and for my brain. I feel like it keeps me going.
WTA Insider: Have you spoken to other players?
Barty: Yeah, I've spoken to a few of the girls more so just to check in with how their health is, to make sure that they're healthy and the families are healthy.
I've spoken to Kiki [Bertens] and Jule [Goerges] and Simo [Halep] and Petra [Kvitova] a little bit just to check in with them. To check how they're going and obviously get a bit of an update of what it's like, where their homes are and where they're living, because I feel like every country at the moment is in their own little bubble of the news and kind of what's being reported.
So it's more so just checking in to make sure they're okay because there are a lot of things, a lot bigger than sport going on. For us, it's about health and looking after yourself and your family and all those things, and then sports is a bonus. I think we're in a very lucky situation to be playing a sport that we love for our livelihood and as a career. So I think this is a time where we can really appreciate the little things.
WTA Insider: Do you have any mental tricks you're using right to keep things in perspective?
Barty: I think it is day-by-day. I think that's the only way to approach it, is to just do the best you can in any given day and try and better yourself, upskill yourself in some way, in some capacity, every single day. Whether that's with a training session, fitness session at home, or some reading or some studying or whatever it may be, creating ways to stimulate your brain, stimulate your body and keep it interesting.
It's amazing how much you can actually do with very little. You don't need all of these material things to keep yourself occupied or keep yourself switched on and keep your mind going. I think that's pretty incredible, something I've certainly realized over this month. You don't really need a lot and that's pretty cool.
WTA Insider: I know you're keeping a healthy perspective on everything, but speaking on tennis. You're the defending Roland Garros champion and I know the grass season is your favorite time of year. How tough was it to see the news that both the clay and grass seasons were cancelled?
Barty: It's a little bit bizarre. Obviously, in Australia, a lot of the news that breaks happens overnight. So for us, we're waking up to that news. In those couple of weeks where a few bigger events were canceled, you kind of work up the news and you wonder, is this really happening?
For me, I thought, man, I haven't been home during an Australian autumn and Australian winter, particularly in Queensland, for a long time. And I love winter! Here it's amazing. It's twenty-odd degrees and there's not a cloud in the sky. So I think for me, it's a bit of a double-edged sword.
Of course, I'd love to be out there competing, doing what I love, but there's always a silver lining. There's always something else to look forward to. So for me, that's spending time with my family and one of the most gorgeous seasons of the year here in Australia.
WTA Insider: Setting aside the reasons for the stoppage, do you see any potential benefit from having such a lengthy suspension of the season? Maybe it's a healthy mental and physical break for players. Maybe it allows time to sort out structural issues amongst the governing bodies. Maybe there isn't one. I don't know.
Barty: I think you have to see the benefits. I think there's no point in just wishing what could be, what should be. I think it's about the possibilities of what's next.
Obviously, I think all sport around the globe at the moment - and not just sport, people all over the world with their jobs, all structures are going to change slightly - I think it's going to be a very interesting world that we live in when we do kind of come out of the virus. When we get on the other side of it and the world's back to kind of working as "normal", it's going to be really interesting to see what that "normal" is.
There's no point focusing on all the negatives. It's definitely an opportunity to see some of the positives and to view life in a different way. Whatever your career is, whatever your working life is, I think it's an opportunity to view that with a different set of eyes as well.
WTA Insider: Australia is such a sporting nation. What has it been like being at home with no sports?
Barty: Yeah, I'm a little bit lost, particularly on weekends. Because it's literally, you work during the week and then come Thursday, Friday, Saturday night and Sunday night and all day you've got sport. Now you're kind of waking and going shoot, what day is it? There's not nothing to look forward to, but certainly from a sporting sense it's just quiet. We're a sporting nation. We have so many different codes as well, domestic codes, international codes, all of these things that at the moment have been put on pause. So it's different, but it's also nice to be able to find some different interests and keep yourself occupied in different ways.
WTA Insider: Do you have a message to the tennis community and fans?
Barty: Oh, I think first and foremost, it's definitely stay safe and look after yourself and your family and your loved ones, those that you care about the most. We're extremely lucky to work in the sporting industry. Now it's time to appreciate the little things, appreciate your loved ones in your life and obviously stay safe and make sure we're doing all the right things so that we can get back out there and do what we love doing as quickly as possible.
To the fans, it's disappointing not to be able to see them as well and interact with them. But hopefully we're able to do that through the beauty of social media now and maybe give them a little bit more insight into our lives and into our home lives. But yeah, I think we're we'll be itching at the bite to get out there as soon as we can, and I'm sure we'll see them soon.
WTA Insider: So are your dogs and nieces and nephews sick of having you around yet?
Barty: Oh mate, my puppies are in heaven. Someone home 24/7? It's brilliant. They get to go out every day and go for their stroll and that gets us out of the house, too. But yes, it's nice to be able to see my nieces and nephews. It's my oldest niece's birthday today, actually. I got to sort out a FaceTime chat so we can get stuck into the cake for her.
So yeah, it's all good down here.