Photos reveal Barty’s secret Australian Open weapon
In an ominous warning to her rivals Ash Barty's coach says a new stronger version of the world No.1 will be unveiled at the Australian Open.
Craig Tyzzer says the potential negative of an 11-month break between competitive matches is offset by significant improvements in the Queenslander's physical make-up.
Barty's trusted mentor believes the 2019 French Open champion is a genuine chance to win her first Australian Open but concedes the lack of match play is the "biggest unknown".
"It has been great to get a long pre-season in," Tyzzer said.
"Physically she is in great shape, she looks a little bit stronger because we have been able to get a lot of that work in early.
Watch LIVE coverage of the WTA Tour with Kayo Sports. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly.
"We've changed a few things, including changing the gut in her racquet to add velocity to the ball as well.
"It's certainly added a bit more weight to her ball so there's a bit more power coming out of her racquet."
Barty, 24, last played a competitive Tour match back in February after deciding to spend the winter at home because of the coronavirus pandemic which meant she missed the US Open and the defence of her French Open crown.
Tyzzer believes absence has certainly made the heart grow fonder for the Open's top seed.
"It has probably given her a bit of a burst to go, 'I miss this, I want to play'," he said.
"She had missed the competition definitely and I think she is in as good of form as we can get her in without match play going on and without playing tournaments.
"Obviously you'd like to have a few tournaments under her belt just to know where you're at and also more for her psyche, just to know that you are in that rhythm.
"It's all a bit of wait and see and it's the same for everyone."
While staying at home in Brisbane and training was a positive there were some hurdles given Melbourne-based Tyzzer was stuck in Victoria because of border restrictions.
The pair were apart for six months and forced to operate via video links for practice sessions before Tyzzer was able to join Barty in October.
"It was good that I could see what she was doing and then make a phone call to say maybe focus on a couple of different things," Tyzzer said.
"The thing with Ash was to not drop off completely and not do anything.
"Physically she did stuff and had a routine with her physical work plus she was hitting two or three times a week.
"That was just to maintain it, to stay in touch with it so the body then doesn't react to things you haven't done for a while."
Trying to replicate matches was the hardest part of the training block and Barty played practice matches with fellow Australians Lizette Cabrera, Kim Birrell and Sam Stosur in Brisbane.
But since she arrived in Melbourne three weeks ago, Tyzzer has pitted the best female player on the planet against some top line male players.
"I get her against the boys, against some good hitters just to make it a bit uncomfortable and put her in some tough situations," Tyzzer said.
Barty will make her return to the court on Friday night in Adelaide in an exhibition against world No.2 Simona Halep.
Originally published as Photos reveal Barty's secret Aus Open weapon