World No.1 Ash Barty
World No.1 Ash Barty

Why’s this Aussie working against Barty?

Ash Barty is in career-best form heading into the Round of 16 at Wimbledon - and she'll need to be with one of tennis' best minds now plotting her demise.

And Craig O'Shannessy, the chief strategist for world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, makes no apologies after being commissioned to help devise a game plan for American Alison Riske to bring down Barty in the fourth round on Monday night.

"I don't work for Tennis Australia," said O'Shannessy on Sunday. "Tennis is a global game. I have no allegiances."

O'Shannessy, also the ATP's and Wimbledon's chief tournament analyst, has been working with Djokovic for the past two and a half years, having previously assisted several other grand slam heavyweights.

 

 

Craig O'Shannessy (L) works as chief strategist for men’s world number one Novak Djokovic. Picture: AAP Image
Craig O'Shannessy (L) works as chief strategist for men’s world number one Novak Djokovic. Picture: AAP Image

 

Now he's in Riske's camp after being approached by the world No. 55's coach Billy Heiser.

"I've known Craig for a long time. I've always liked what he's done," Heiser said.

"I know he's working with Novak and I just asked if he'd be willing to sit down and go over some things.

"And he went over some things for one of our other matches and I just asked if he could go over a few things against Ash.

"I hope it disrupts some things."

 

Ash Barty is not taking her next wimbledon opponent lightly. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
Ash Barty is not taking her next wimbledon opponent lightly. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

 

BARTY KNOWS SHE'S IN FOR A FIGHT

Barty won't take any liberties against Riske as the world No. 1 seeks a maiden Wimbledon quarter-final.

Barty was questioned after an untroubled 6-1 6-1 third-round win over Harriet Dart about the possibility of clashing with Serena Williams in Tuesday's quarters

But, currently on a 15-match winning streak, Barty had no interest in discussing Williams because her sole focus is world No. 54 Riske.

 

United States' Alison Riske is a proven grass court performer. Picture: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
United States' Alison Riske is a proven grass court performer. Picture: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

"Whenever Alison's back was against the wall, she produced her best tennis," Barty said.

"I think that's no secret. You ask any opponent that plays Alison, she's up for the fight, makes you work for every single point.

"I think it will be really important for me to go out there and try and bring my variety, take my opportunities when I get them.

"Also I know she loves playing on the grass court. She's going to make me play a million balls. I have to be at my best."

Barty, 23, remains Wimbledon favourite after reaching the last 16 without dropping a set.

The Queenslander has conceded only one set in her 15-match sequence, evidence of consistency and ruthlessness.

 

 

 

She is attempting to become only the fourth Australian in the Open era to follow French Open victory with Wimbledon success.

Rod Laver (1969), Margaret Court (1970) and Evonne Goolagong (1971) are the others.

Goolagong is Australia's most recent women's singles champion, winning for a second time in 1980.

Since last year's Wimbledon, Barty has posted career-best results at all four majors.

She reached the fourth round in New York, the quarters at Melbourne Park, won in Paris and is now into the round of 16 at Wimbledon.