World No.1 Ashleigh Barty is not one to hang her head after bowing out in the quarterfinals of her home Slam. Barty took her first loss of the 2021 season on Wednesday, relinquishing a set and a break lead to Karolina Muchova to lose 1-6. 6-3, 6-2 in the Australian Open quarterfinals.
"Overall we take the positives that have come out of this last two or three weeks," Barty said after the match. The 24-year-old ended her 11-month absence from the tour due to the pandemic, by winning the title at the Yarra Valley Classic in the week leading up to the Australian Open.
"Being back on the tour has been fantastic. I've loved every second, even though at times it is frustrating. That's the name of the game. That's the sport that we play.
"I think we celebrate as a team the way that we've been able to come back into the sport and really play well."
As she looks ahead to the remainder of the season, Barty confirmed she is prepared for a long trip away from home as the tour heads to the Middle East for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and Qatar Total Open, and then the United States for the Miami Open, where she is the reigning champion after winning the title in 2019.
"We've planned and we've entered to play a few of the tour events coming up in the Middle East," Barty said. "Right from the get-go, obviously it's the first time we've looked to travel for quite some time now. We'll sit back and kind of go through all of the health risks that are at this stage and to where we're going, then we just work from there."
"It's a tricky one because I think the health of my team and myself will always be the priority, no matter what.
"In a way, there is no nervousness because I feel like we'll make the right decisions that are kind of the best for us. We'll make the right decisions for the right reasons. That kind of takes away any of the nerves or concerns knowing that we can put full trust in, if we travel, when we travel, the right health guidelines we put in place."
Barty's coach, Craig Tyzzer, confirmed the team may be away from home through the European or U.S. Summer swing.
"We're hoping that we'll set up some sort of base somewhere probably in Europe where we can at least switch off and relax and spend some time away from tennis, maybe a bit of golf for Ash," Tyzzer told reporters.
"We're yet to finalize anything in that regard. But yeah, we're planning on being away for a while."
Everything happens for a reason... Disappointed but we learn and we go back to work!— Ash Barty (@ashbarty) February 17, 2021
I love being an Aussie. I love the Aussie Summer 🤍 pic.twitter.com/0SWEz2lx89
At the Australian Open, Barty was bidding to become the first Australian woman to capture the home Slam since Wendy Turnbull in 1978. The Queenslander had not lost a set heading into the quarterfinals but could not close out Muchova to return to the semifinals.
"Yeah, it's heartbreaking, of course," Barty said. "But will it deter me, will it ruin the fact we've had a really successful start to our season? Absolutely not.
"The sun will come up tomorrow. We go about our work again.
"You're either winning or your learning. I think today is a massive learning curve for me, for Tyz, my team as well. We take the positives out of it without a doubt, and don't let this particular match, this particular hour of tennis deter us from what we're trying to do."