MELBOURNE, Australia -- Ashleigh Barty has a wonderful sense of perspective. It was evident the moment she walked into her postmatch news conference following her 7-6 (6), 7-5 loss to American Sofia Kenin in the semifinals of the Australian Open on Thursday.
Instead of forlornly trudging into a packed media room, dreading the questions from dozens of Australian journalists who were hoping she could become the first homegrown woman to make the Australian Open final in 40 years, Barty strode in, chipper as always, with a baby in her arms.
No, it wasn't hers, she joked. It was her 11-week-old niece, Olivia, bubbling away on her lap as Barty answered questions from the media.
"Perspective is a beautiful thing, life is a beautiful thing," Barty said. "[Olivia] brought a smile to my face as soon as I came off the court. I got to give her a hug. Life's good. It's all good."
This isn't a new Barty. Nor is it a Barty trying to deflect.
The Queenslander has never been one to throw rackets, berate umpires or even offer much more than a subdued fist pump after winning a big point, but as many have found out these past two weeks, that's not Barty lacking emotion or hiding disappointment.
Instead, it's obvious that she never gets too high, never gets too low, and oozes perspective, something often lost or overlooked -- intentionally or unintentionally -- by professional athletes and the media alike.
Throughout the two-week tournament, Barty was asked time and again whether the public expectation and pressure of being an Australian world No. 1, at her home Slam, would be a factor in how her fortnight plays out.
Each time, she parried, starting with immediately after her first-round win.
"I'm doing it with my team. We're doing it as a team. We're loving it. We're embracing it," Barty said. "There's no other way to approach it. I think we're just going along for the ride, trying to play some good tennis."
She had similar answers through the second, third and fourth rounds.
While it would be easy to say she's just stonewalling any journalist who wants to get a rise out of her, that's just not Barty's way.
Not even after her straight-sets loss -- a match in which she had set points in the first and second sets -- could Barty's mindset be shifted from the humbled outlook and greater perspective she projects on a daily basis.
"I've loved every minute of playing in Australia over the last month. Yeah, I could have had an opportunity to go one more match, but we didn't quite get that today," Barty said after her loss. "I've learnt so much over the last month. I've learnt from all of the experiences that I've kind of been thrown into. I've loved every minute. I won't wait a year to put those into practice. I'll put those into practice next week. The next time I walk out on court, the next time I kind of wake up in the morning, every experience you need to learn from. I've done that."
It's not to say she isn't disappointed. At one point, niece Olivia cried out during a question, and Barty, quick as a whip, responded with a smile: "I feel ya, sister."
"I've just tried to go about my business the same every single day," she said. "It's regardless of whether I was 50 in the world or 100 or No. 1 in the world.
"I try and prepare and do everything exactly the same. But, yeah, [the media has] spoken about [the expectations] a lot. I don't know if I've given you a real answer because it kind of isn't really there."
And there's a simplicity in how Barty will move on from this loss -- if she hasn't already -- and it involves making her way home to Ipswich, a suburb of Brisbane where she lives, and never even looking at a tape of that semifinal loss.
"I haven't watched a match that I've played for a long time," she said with a smile. "I haven't watched any that I won, I haven't watched any that I lost. ... I've lived through it, I played it, I know what happened. We chat about it, we learn, then we move on."
Never pretentious and always looking forward, Barty has perspective, and for a 23-year-old world No. 1 in such a high-pressure environment, that's a beautiful thing.