Performance and mindset coach Ben Crowe has opened up on the part he’s played in turning Ash Barty into the number one player in women’s tennis.
Crowe, who has worked with the likes of Andrew Agasi and Michael Jordan, has recently mentored Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson.
He started working with Barty after she lost in the third round at Wimbledon in 2018.
Since then, Barty’s become a Grand Slam and WTA finals champion and ends 2019 as the world number one.
Crowe explained the turnaround in Barty’s mindset – both off the court and on it – since they started working together two years ago.
“I think she's probably one of the greatest role models on the planet today,” he said on SEN Breakfast.
“I think she got caught up in the expectation and pressure – she’s 15 years old and wins junior Wimbledon and all of a sudden there’s this expectation and pressure and all of a sudden she took a break.
“Her hand-eye coordination is quite phenomenal and thankfully she got into playing cricket and through her best friend (and former player) Casey Dellacqua got back into tennis and then came in as a version two.”
Crowe said he helped redefine Barty’s internal expectations, allowing them to become a positive rather than dragging her down.
“Playing tennis is what Ash does but it’s not who she is and doesn’t defines the depth of her,” he said.
“Now she knows who she is so she has this beautiful perspective that enables her to laugh more and have more fun and understand what her goals are and separate goals from expectations.
“Most athletes don’t set goals because they think they’re an expectation and they don’t what to put them out there because they think ‘I’m even more of a loser’.
“If you can separate goals and expectations as Ash has done, you put those goals out in the universe and you go after them. No guarantees or expectations that you'll achieve those goals but I guess that's called living and she’s understood that.
“She’s surprised all of us but probably most importantly herself in terms of what she’s capable of when she gives herself permission to go after that.”
Crowe confirmed he is currently working with Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimirov, an arrangement that came about because of his connection to Agassi, who coaches the 28-year-old.
Listen to Ben Crowe's full chat with Garry and Tim on SEN Breakfast in the player below