The conversation lit the fire that saw her play cricket for Queensland and in the WBBL for the Brisbane Heat.
But it also provided the source of Barty’s “we” mentality.
The world No. 1 rarely refers to herself when asked about her game or how she will break down an opponent’s game.
Barty, backed by her tight-knit team, family and friends, sees her pursuit of Grand Slam titles as a team sport.
It’s a mentality that began while training and traveling alongside her Brisbane Heat teammates, as well as coaching at the National Women’s Under-15 Championships with the CA XI.
“We wanted to put someone with a certain gravity in this role. Belinda asked her, she said yes and immediately got stuck,” Howard explained.
“She was 19, 20 at the time, and had been an individual sport and excelled, but the feeling was – and I wasn’t mic on this – that she just wanted to play a team sport. And it made sense to me.
“You see a lot of very high level, versatile teenagers who are good at a lot of things. The chance to practice a team sport, she saw as really cool.
“When she returned to tennis, I hope and I heard her memory was really positive. The credit has to go to Queensland Cricket. They were driving her.
“I hope it was a really positive thing for her, which was part of her journey. She was great with the players, with everyone at Queensland Cricket and everyone at Cricket Australia.
Clark was one of the forces behind Barty’s time as a player and assistant coach, and couldn’t have had more praise for how she helped inspire both the next generation and her teammates in the game. Queensland and Heat.
“These children had the opportunity to sit with someone and be mentored and coached by someone. Although her expertise was primarily in another sport, she worked with this group of children for 10 days around what it’s like to be a professional athlete with your right attitude and mindset.
“She has an incredible story to tell and she is ready to share it.
“These things happened a bit in the Queensland environment, where she spent most of her time.
“She’s just a good human. She also happens to be a great tennis player.