The ‘Barty Party’ hits Australia, and there are just 123 Rado watches available to celebrateAndrew McUtchen
I’m fortunate to be able to say I’ve met a couple of world number one tennis players in my time. Ash Barty, current women’s number one, is not like any of them. She has no star vibes as such. No X Factor. No celebrity aura. What she carries with herself, which comes across in person, is more powerful – and rarer – than that. It’s total ease with herself. And a level of self-belief, to back herself in every word she says. It’s borderline frightening. All answers are direct, honest, sincere. This one, for example. I’d asked, “Is Serena Williams intimidating to play against?”
The response was instantaneous: “She is,” and with this a squint and a nod. “The first time. But not the second.” This answer frames exactly why the 23-year-old Australian is the best player in the world. She has a rock-solid self-belief. She has no doubt she is up where she belongs. The Number 1 seed for the Australian Open next month, who lists Alicia Molik, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin as her heroes, has steel in her eyes. Friend of Time+Tide and tennis commentator Miguel Seabra describes her this way: “She’s a great player. Or should I say, a player’s player: high tennis IQ, she’s not a grunting one-dimensional ball basher.”
The other striking characteristic is Ash’s generosity of spirit. It was captured perfectly in an anecdote told to me by the Rado Australia team. “We asked Ash to sign a few cans of balls. Instead, she stayed up late last night signing all the balls individually. 240 balls. Incredible!” Everyone who’s met, or momentarily experienced the #bartyparty, can attest to the above.
Ash can now add to her list of charms — and to her expanding trophy cabinet — another jewel: her own eponymous Rado timepiece, the Ashleigh Barty Limited Edition Rado HyperChrome in white ceramic, with mother-of-pearl dial and a diamond bezel.
Ash had a hand in the making of the watch and, in true Aussie style, wanted something versatile that could be worn “on the court, and then out for drinks afterwards”. She also noted the scratch-proof ceramic, the lightness on the wrist and surmised that “all girls like shiny things”, hence the addition of diamonds and a gleaming pearl dial. It’s a summer-ready watch to commemorate a champion that represents everything I love about Australia. It’s awesome. Congratulations, Rado — and onwards and upwards, Ash Barty, may this party rage for years!
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