Barty’s 2019 season one of the greatest ever
Ash Barty's career has never been about numbers.
The Queenslander, since an extraordinary career rebirth in 2016, has ruthlessly focused on process - to the exclusion of virtually everything else.
With the Fed Cup final in Perth this week beckoning as the final chapter in a wondrous season, Barty has already fashioned the most remarkable comeback in Australian tennis history.
Outside of Monica Seles' return to grand slam glory after being stabbed on-court in 1993, Barty's achievements after a two-year sabbatical are among the most inspiring in the sport's history.
Included in her incredible feats are simply staggering metrics:
- The first Australian woman to secure the season-ending world No.1 ranking since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976
- Owner of the most wins in 2019 on the women's tour with 56
- Responsible for the best 2019 record for top top-10 wins (12)
- Joint ownership of the most titles on tour with four titles (on outdoor hardcourt, clay, grass and indoor hardcourt)
- An unsurpassed $16 million in prizemoney this season alone, more than another player (man or woman)
Buried in the avalanche of statistics is the fact Barty resumed just over three years ago, ranked No.9999 in the world.
Her first cheque after returning to tennis from cricket was for just over $3000 at a third-tier event on grass at Eastbourne in June 2016.
This year alone, Barty has climbed from No.15, making the fastest ascent from entering the top-10 on April 4 to No. 1 on June 24.
That rocketing 12-week rise easily eclipsed the previous swiftest on both tours - Naomi Osaka took 20 weeks, Marat Safin 23 weeks.
"It's been a season of ups and downs, probably more ups than downs," Barty said after landing the WTA Championships in Shenzhen.
Her trademark understatement, humility and modesty are etched in everything she has done this year.
As usual, the French Open champion deflects all of the personal glory to her team, led by Craig Tyzzer, Nicki Craig and Ben Crowe.
When Barty rocks up in Perth this week for the Fed Cup final, her complete focus will be on team success against a formidable French line-up.
The only numbers she'll be interested in helping Australia obtain three wins from five rubbers over the French.
Given her current form and mindset, it will take a massive reversal to deny Barty the glorious season postscript she - and her teammates - deserve.
When she turns off her phone next week and escapes for a well-earned break with her partner Gary Kissick, Barty might be tempted to absorb astonishing 2019 numbers.
But, probably not.