Jason Stoltenberg, the coach of 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty, tells The Australian that despite her young age, it was a good move to have her play Hopman Cup against elite pro competition. Barty upset former Roland Garros winner Francesca Schiavone and also defeated Andrea Petkovic when the German retired with an injury. The Aussie also played respectably in a loss to former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, and took part in a mixed doubles match (with Bernard Tomic) against Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic. Barty has received a wild card into the main draw of the Australian Open.
“I think it is going to do her the world of good,” Stoltenberg said. “She can go there now and if she plays on a big court, it will be like, ‘I have just played in front of 14,500 people against the best male player in the world and one of the best women’, so I think she is going to walk out of here with a spring in her step. [Her forehand] is her big shot and I think her serve, for someone that size, is going to be quite good. … The good thing is that there is a lot of variety in her game and she is pretty tough under pressure and she loves to compete, so there is a lot of upside.”