ASHLEIGH Barty is proof, if ever it were needed, that sacrifice leads to reward.
When the QT spoke to Springfield's Barty yesterday, she was getting ready to go to school.
For her it was a fleeting visit during her one week at home between returning from overseas (where she reached the semi-finals of the Girls' US Open and led Australia to the Junior Fed Cup title in Mexico) and heading to Melbourne for some intensive tennis training.
She was running late for school, having just left a women in sport function, at which she was a guest speaker.
"I'm going to a few functions this week," she said.
It is a hectic existence for a 16-year-old, but Barty has quickly learned it is the price of the fame she has found since winning the girls' Wimbledon title in July.
She is handling it remarkably well.
"I'm starting to accept it a little bit more," she said.
"It's part of being a tennis player and being successful."
Barty is doing all she can to ensure her success continues.
She's heading to Melbourne on Monday to get her game and head in order for a shot at the Girls' Australian Open in January.
"I think I am (in good shape), but there is always room for improvement," she said.
"Everything in my game can improve."
She might not like it but Barty accepts down time at home will become rarer and rarer.
She does not expect to be back for any length of time before Christmas.
"You always get that feeling," she said. "When you've been on the road for seven or eight weeks.
"You just want to come home, take some time off and be a normal kid again."
Which is why she values every chance she gets to go back to her Woodcrest College Year 10 classes.
"It's great to be a normal 16-year-old again," the exciting international prospect said.
"It is hard sometimes (keeping up with schoolwork), but I'm getting better and better at it."
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