A poem about Ashleigh Barty written the day after she finally defeated Petra Kvitová

This is one of my most matter of fact “matter of fact” poems, and might be a thought of as a celebration both of Barty’s victory and of this form of poetry. For a few links, see below.


Ashleigh Barty and Petra Kvitová, photo by Luis M. Alvarez (AP), 27 March 2019We are fans of the tennis player Ash Barty because

when she was a very young tennis star, she took two years off from the tour

to try “to experience life as a normal teenaged girl and have some normal experiences.”


And because she is only five feet five inches tall,

and in the world of competitive sports, where size (large or very large) is everything

(and small or normal-size people are often excluded), Barty still competes and competes.


When, in the first-set tiebreaker, she was down

5 to 2, to a taller and higher-ranked opponent,

she didn’t flinch. She won six of the next seven points.


And the set, and then the match.

And when it was over she didn’t get carried away.

She said, “I’m really pleased.”


And, “Petra’s someone I respect most on tour.

She’s an absolute champion.

It’s always a real pleasure to play her.”


Life is never this simple and sensible,

But it’s nice when it appears to be.


∩ Quotations, in order of appearance, are from:

Other recent matter of fact poems posted on Montaigbakhtinian

This last link reminds me that a few of my drawings and poems will be shown, along with others’ work, in Woodstock, New York next month. The opening is Saturday, April 6, 2019 in the afternoon. More at Relief: Byrdcliffe Artists-in-Residence 2018.


Ashleigh Barty, with trophy and streamers, 2019 Miami Open (photo from wtatennis dot com)30 March 2019 update

Ash Barty wins the Miami Open, the biggest singles win of her career. At the award ceremony a TV commentator noted that at 5’5″ Barty was the shortest woman among the top 25 women players in the world. Please note, however, that in the United States, for example, the average adult woman is a little under 5 feet 4 inches tall. A typical Barty comment, this from the ceremony: “You don’t get these opportunities every single day so it was important for me to continue to try and do the right things and enjoy the moment as well.”


Ash Barty, image from AAP (Fox Sports) online story, 6 June 20196 June 2019 update

Today Barty won her French Open quarterfinals match, but since she was beating an American and, on another court, an American was beating a foreigner . . . The TV switched away to that match. Of course international sports are only interesting when Americans are playing and winning (??!!??) . . . and TV does its best to assure us that this is ever the case. An astute TV watcher—an oxymoron—might note a certain lack of suspense, at least when it comes to matches rebroadcast from time zones well beyond the continental United States. If they are being rebroadcast, it is because the American or the Americans won.

But Ash . . . Today, in the games the TV allowed me to watch, her opponent was playing quite well, but Ash had, among other things, a greater understanding of what was happening and going to happen, so she was a hair quicker to the ball and a hair more effective with her shots. (Or, as she put it: “I felt like I was in control. I got the balls I wanted, and I was able to put the balls in difficult positions”.

She is now the highest-seeded woman player left in the tournament, but told the press:

[T]he other three girls in the semi-finals are playing incredible tennis. . . . Even though they don’t have a seeding next to their name necessarily doesn’t mean they’re any less of a player.


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