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January 29, 2022

Craig Tyzzer

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


Q. We have seen a huge change in Ash Barty in this tournament in her mental preparedness and her mental focus before the games, after the games, and her attitude. What can you tell us about that and how much has been your leadership in that? How is the team working on that part, playing a part in this tournament?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, look, we've been working on it for years and years and Ash will continue to work on it and constantly work on it. That's part of the game, that's part of, it's like learning a stroke. You know, if you need to work on areas, you develop and you keep working on it.

Yeah, I'm not sure that this was any different than, say, Wimbledon or any other tournaments. I think the process was very similar. I felt, yeah, even though there was a lot of outside noise and pressure for her that she really didn't take any of that on board and just was really process-focused on what she needed to do for each match.

Yeah, I think she did a great job obviously to get through the whole seven matches and play as well as she did was pretty good.

Q. Tyz, can you run through what it was like for you sitting in the box down 1-5 in that second set and that crosscourt winner to clinch the title?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, I can't remember the last point (smiling). 5-1 down, I actually didn't feel too uncomfortable. I felt she was -- she just missed a bit. I think she was trying to do the wrong thing with the ball, trying to hit with a bit more shape. She actually told me, gave me a signal it was a bit spongy, like the balls were a bit softer, so she was struggling to get any sort of shape on the balls.

So I think the fact when she started to hit through the back of the ball and went a bit flatter and actually came over a few more backhands that she started to feel better. I actually wasn't -- I actually was prepared for a third set. But she did a great job running that second set in and sneaking through in the tiebreaker was pretty good.

Q. Everyone in the box is very composed all the time. Is that a definite ploy or is it just the personalities...

CRAIG TYZZER: No, you should hear what people are saying under their masks in our box (smiling). Yeah, we might look composed, but, you know, we obviously still feel a lot of stuff.

But I think the fact we've done it so often, you know, so many matches and we know that you can't win it by getting emotional and you can't help actually out there, so it's trying to be understanding of her situation and trying to make her feel relaxed as well as.

So I think that's just part of what we've done all the time. There wasn't any change coming into tonight's match.

Q. You always talk about trying to improve Ash's game and constantly evolving it. She's only 25. How much improvement does she have left in her when clearly the players are peaking after 30 these days?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, look, I mean, there's still areas we continue to work on still, she's got to get better at. I mean, I'm not gonna tell what you they are because that's giving away a few too many secrets. But there's still room for improvement.

I think what she's done really well is just she's enjoyed it. She's been really composed and enjoyed playing. You know, like tonight we knew what the challenges were going to be, like Danielle can just blow you off the court at times. So she was looking forward to that challenge, Okay, how do I figure out how to beat this girl who can just hit you into the corners and hurt you every time you drop it short?

I think for her that's the best part. She's enjoying playing, enjoying the challenges. There's still areas we'll work on with her game. I probably don't have to do too much with her serve now. It seems to be working really well.

But, yeah, you're always looking for areas to get better.

Q. Was there a moment, now that she's got it done, where you thought everything is falling into place, she's playing the way I want her to play, it is all coming together like we planned?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, not really. I mean, every match can be -- I mean, I felt her consistency was great right through Adelaide. She started a bit scratchy in that first match against Coco Gauff, but that was just lack of match play and getting out there. She got better and better every week. I felt -- every match. Then I felt it was exactly the same here. Yeah, she just handled the situation and tactically she took care of what she needed to do.

But, you know, there's times if Maddie came out yesterday or the other day and just took the court away from Ash and blew her off the court, then it's a different result.

She was capable of doing it on the day. That's all you can really do. It's seven matches and you've got to stand up and produce every time you walk out there. So it's difficult to win. It takes its toll.

I think Danielle played a great tournament. She got better every match I think too. She was improving all the time. I felt Ash just played a pretty solid quality match tonight.

Q. What do you think the potential is of Danielle, based on what you've seen this week?

CRAIG TYZZER: She's an incredible competitor. She's always been feisty, always been up and about, and her college background sort of has built that into her.

I mean, she just takes the ball so early. She takes the serve early, stands up in the court, and hits the ball early. I felt the cooler conditions really helped her, like the ball stayed a lot lower so it sort of fitted into her game a lot more tonight. That was going to make it more difficult for Ash, not to be able to get it up and out of her hitting zone or push her back off the baseline.

I just felt she did a good job when she needed to at the right times.

Q. How critical do you think it was that long break she had at the end of last season? Do you think she would have been able to hit this level of play if she hadn't had that time to recharge and come out so strong?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, she needed to take a break after Wimbledon, really. You know, we probably played a bit longer than -- she was exhausted. She was tired. She was mentally -- she'd set her sights on wanting to win Wimbledon. So I felt like she pushed herself through to get to the US Open and really struggled there in particular.

So, yeah, it was a no-brainer to just go, okay, we shut this down and do a bit of a preseason and look forward to the Aussie summer.

Q. The prelude to this tournament was so Djokovic focused, all the attention was off of Ash. Was that any help to her, do you think, or not?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, look, it was probably a distraction, like we were obviously all watching it and seeing what was happening and wondering what was happening.

Look, it didn't really -- we can't control that situation or, I mean, we were pretty focused on what we had to do, trying to get ready for a first match here and figure all that out. That was pretty much what we needed to do.

Q. What was the day like for Ash and the team? Was it like any other match day?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, yeah, very normal. Like same warmup, same catchup, same talk about what we needed to do, same -- yeah, nothing changes. Like we don't -- everything is the same.

I guess with Grand Slams it's easier, because -- and also, we know in the last two matches your times are set so we sort of knew, okay, this is your semi, this is your final, so we could plan that pretty well. Even yesterday was the same. We slightly changed our practice time just because Ash wanted to go earlier.

But, yeah, everything was routine and pretty normal. So, yeah, no change today. We played cricket before in our warmup, and our English guy, Mark Taylor, was terrible again. Yeah, nothing changed.

Q. Todd said Evonne being there was a complete surprise. Did you or the team around her have any idea that that's what the presentation would be?

CRAIG TYZZER: I sort of knew, but, yeah, Ash didn't know at all. It was great, because, I mean, they locked Evonne away, and she watched it from somewhere else. Yeah, so it was fantastic that she was here.

I mean, you could see the look on Ash's face when she heard Evonne was coming out. It was pretty special for her. I'm so glad she made it down, so glad she could present Ash the trophy. That was a thrill for all of us.

Q. If you're going to go from the 2019 French to last year's Wimbledon to here, where would you suggest that the biggest improvements have been in Ash's game?

CRAIG TYZZER: I think the French was a real -- I mean, that was totally unexpected. Her game then was probably nowhere near the level it is now.

If she was playing the level she's playing now, I would expect she would go through the French in that year pretty well, where I felt she struggled it was up and down; there was no up and down here. There wasn't too much up and down at Wimbledon, even though she was very underdone tennis-wise, she still was a constant level in her matches through that. She struggled a bit just because she hadn't played a lot of tennis.

But, yeah, I feel like her consistency, her ability to play and adapt against different players, even today, different conditions, and still feel like she can control and execute, I think that's a big improvement for her. Yeah, I feel like she's a lot better than 2019.

Q. Can you talk about being a coach and having her win her three slams on three different surfaces and what that means to you?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, I actually always felt she's a better hard court player. I mean, she loves grass. But Wimbledon is so different in that it's really slow, like it's a slow surface, it's a different grass. So I think a lot of players find that quite difficult where Ash quite enjoys the really low bounce and the slowness there.

But I always thought she'd -- I always thought her first win would be, in a Grand Slam, would be on a hard court. But typical for her she proved me wrong and she won on clay first and then grass and then now hard court.

Yeah, look, it's amazing that she's been able to do it. It's pretty impressive. I think we've all got to sit back and just look at what she's been able to do on different surfaces and just her ability to play the level of tennis that she does. I mean, sometimes I'm just in awe of it.

Q. How do you see her chances at the US Open?

CRAIG TYZZER: The US Open really needs to change the ball for the girls, the fact they still use a different ball for guys and girls. It's a terrible ball for someone like Ash. Even in Cincinnati when they use the US Open ball outside she could actually get some loft out of the court, but the ball itself is so light. It was the only tournament last year and really for two years where she uses a gut racquet but I had to change her to a poly just to get any sort of control of the ball.

If they keep that ball the same, no one like Ash will win that tournament. So I think you see the result at the US Open, it was two players who, you go, Wow, that was, two different players won that? There's no surprise when the ball is like it is. And I don't know the reason why. It's the only tournament that has separate ball for the guys and girls. So if they don't change the balls, she won't win the US Open.

Q. Congratulations. Ash has won 12 of her last 14 finals, and I'm curious, in your opinion, why is she able to do so well in finals irrespective of the stage, smaller tournament, bigger tournament, what do you think that comes down to?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, I wish I knew. Yeah, look, I don't know. I mean, everything we do is geared towards trying to win that match and who she plays and the matchup and how she goes about it. Yeah, she has been good in finals. I mean, you know, even just Grand Slams, like three Grand Slam finals, three wins in -- I mean, she didn't do that in doubles.

She has been there before. But, yeah, look, I think just her ability to prepare really well, to focus on just the task at hand, too, to not get ahead of herself about that it is a final, I think she's doing that really well, too.

Q. Congratulations. I'm curious just for you what does it feel like to be the coach that ended the drought? What is the sense of pride and accomplishment that you feel?

CRAIG TYZZER: Yeah, look, massive sense of pride in Ash and her ability to do what she's done.

Yeah, sometimes I just think I'm not sure how she walks out there and does it with the expectations, with the nation right behind her, and everyone wanting her to win. You can't walk around the corner and hear that, you know, it's 44 years or how long it's been since someone has won it.

Yeah, look, it's an amazing feat. It's phenomenal. To be part of it is amazing, but I'm thrilled every day to work with Ash. What she does never surprises me, but I'm just glad that I'm part of it, yeah.

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