Ash Barty’s beer celebration inspires Aussie No. 2
Australia's No. 2 female player's most lasting memory of Ash Barty last year was her cheering on Richmond - beer in hand - from the Gabba stands in the AFL finals series.
Ajla Tomljanovic, like many of the world's tennis stars, was roughly 16,500km away in the French Open's quarantine bubble at the time.
Her fellow Queenslander and world No. 1 Barty opted not to risk travelling at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was just so funny to see her. While we were all in a bubble, she was doing that - and it's just so her," Tomljanovic told the Herald Sun.
"Sometimes I wonder if she even knows how great she's doing. She kind of thinks it's 'whatever'.
"I mean, she probably doesn't, but it looks like that on the outside.
"The way she's approaching the sport right now is really helping her and it's something we can all kind of learn from a little bit."
Croatian-born Tomljanovic switched allegiances to Australia in mid-2014, has since represented her adopted country in Fed Cup and hopes to enjoy her best results while at home.
The 27-year-old's aggressive style has seen her beat many big names, including Kiki Bertens, Aryna Sabalenka, Johanna Konta, Yulia Putintseva and Daria Kasatkina, and be ranked as high as No. 39.
However, she hasn't advanced beyond round two at a grand slam since making the last 16 at the 2014 French Open - something she's keen to change.
Tomljanovic upset 31st seed Anastasija Sevastova in the first round at last year's Australian Open, only to run into eventual finalist Garbine Muguruza in her next match.
"It's always in the back of my mind," she said of her grand slam record.
"I do feel a couple of times I was close and didn't have the best of luck with some draws, like last year I felt like I was playing really well and beat a seed, then played Muguruza, which was a little unlucky.
"But I do believe that your luck does turn around, as long as I'm doing the right things and pushing through it."
Tomljanovic is in hotel quarantine and training with Croatia's Donna Vekic, but doesn't feel the situation has disadvantaged her much at all to her fellow Australians.
"I think I can put in a really good preparation, where I'm feeling at 100 per cent," the world No. 69 said.
"My goal is always just to improve. I definitely would love to have a career-high (ranking) this season."
Originally published as How Barty's beer celebration inspired Aussie No. 2