By Bug Sports Editor Pat Malone
Word from the England grasscourt season is that new world No. 1 women’s tennis player Ash Barty is sick and tired of her nicer-than-nice, level-headed, humble-girl-next-door reputation and is determinedly doing something about it.
“No more Miss Nice Girl” is basically the message from the Queenslander who broke through earlier this month for her maiden Grand Slam singles crown at the French Open.
The Bug understands Ms Barty has embarked on a series of testosterone injections, a reaction to which forced her to miss her final Wimbledon warm-up tournament where she blamed a wrist injury for her late withdrawal.
But the word around the courts is that the injections have started to kick in and tennis fans can expect to see from the tournament No 1 at Wimbledon from next Monday a lot of racket abuse, chair-throwing and obscenities leveled at umpires, her player’s box, the crowd and aircraft flying overhead.
We’ll also be seeing a couldn’t-give-a-fuck-anymore attitude, including deliberate air swings and underarm serves if just a single line call goes against her.
I can reveal that a clear pointer to these hormone injection rumours being true comes from the latest incarnation of what’s called in the tennis media world a “Barty Party”.
Once an event that involved a few beers with mates, the humble, head-shaking, “It’s been a team effort” acceptance of congratulations, a quiet Aussie barbecue and perhaps a screening of Battle of the Sexes afterwards, I can reveal that the latest “Barty Party” after her most recent tournament win was described by those who can now remember attending it as “an alcohol and drug-fuelled borderline orgy” (main picture).
As The Bug‘s senior sports reporter I caught up with Australia’s newest sporting hero and when I asked her straight out if the testosterone injections story and the “Barty Party” depictions were true, Ms Barty replied: “You do know that players on the world tour reckon you’re the shittiest tennis writer in the game’s history, don’t you?
“You must surely be aware that it’s a long-standing tradition that when any No 1 player on the circuit excuses themselves to take a No 2 they declare: ‘I have to drop a Malone’?”