TENNIS: Esteemed coach David Taylor has urged Australian tennis fans and officials from burdening teenage sensation Ashleigh Barty withunfair expectations.
Taylor yesterday hailed the 15-year-old junior Wimbledon champion as not only the hottest talent in world tennis, but also potentially even better than the great Martina Hingis.
aShe's the real deal. She is amazing,a Taylor said.
The legendary Evonne Goolagong Cawley agreed, lauding Barty's afantastica all-round game, but Taylor said it was critical the youngsterwas allowed to develop before being over-hyped.
aWe have to be careful with her,a he said.
aPeople are excited because she is such an outstanding talent and we haven't had one like that for so long.
aBut she's still got a long way to go and so many things can wrongbefore she becomes a top-20 player.
aShe's not even close to that. The distance she has to travel to get there is way off, so let's just be excited about her potential fornow, eh.a
Barty this month won the Australian Open wildcard playoff and is sure to attract plenty of attention when she makes her grand slam main-draw debut in Melbourne next month.
And not even Taylor's cautiousness could temper his enthusiasm fora prodigious talent who last year took up a dream invitation to train in Las Vegas with Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi.
aShe's a complete tennis player, an updated and better version of Hingis. She already serves better,a said Taylor, who formerly coachedthe Swiss Miss, as well as fellow ex-world No.1 Ana Ivanovic, retired Australian ace Alicia Molik and who now mentors US Open champion Samantha Stosur.
aI haven't seen anyone with this much potential before. At 16, I saw Ivanovic lose to Venus Williams 7-6 7-6 in Zurich, but her game a big serve, big forehand a is totally different.
aBarty doesn't have the power of Venus or Serena but she's got intuition that you can't really teach.
aShe changes the pace really well, changes the tempo. She can playon any surface, she handles the pressure well ... there's not many holes in her game.
aShe's got everything. She just gets it. That's why she's so special.a
Taylor's lavish praise for Barty came after Goolagong Cawley said she couldn't wait to see the Queensland starlet match it up with the pros at Melbourne Park.