Ashleigh Barty once received text from Serena Williams that helped save her career

Ashleigh Barty was encouraged to return to tennis by Serena Williams (Picture: Getty)

Ashleigh Barty is on the brink of writing her name into the Australian Open record books as she prepares for her final with Danielle Collins.

The world No.1 will try to become the first Australian since 1978 to win a singles major on home soil when she takes to the court on Saturday to play the world No.30.

But things could have been so different for the the 25-year-old had it not been for a certain intervention from 23-time singles Grand Slam champion Williams.

Her relationship with tennis was very different in 2014 when she essentially walked away from the sport to pursue a cricket career instead, hoping that the lack of travel would suit her lifestyle better.

Barty returned in 2016 and three years later sat at the top of the world rankings having won her first of two Grand Slams to date, the 2019 French Open.

Her former coach Jim Joyce has revealed how eight years ago, when Williams was at the top of her game, she went out of her way to encourage Barty not to walk away from the sport.

‘Ash was in a restaurant I think and Serena sent her a message saying “you are too good a player to retire … you have to come back,”‘ Joyce told the Courier Mail on Saturday.

Ashleigh Barty has won two Grand Slams to date (Picture: TPN/Getty Images)

Joyce said he had told people at the time if Barty did not return to the sport ‘it would be the greatest waste Australian tennis has ever seen.’

‘That comment was proved right,’ he added.

Explaining her decision to quit tennis back then, Barty revealed the main reason came down to feeling ‘disconnected’ from her family.

‘I think I just needed to find myself a little bit,’ Barty previously explained.

‘I felt like I got twisted and maybe a little bit lost along the way in the first part of my career, just within myself mentally and what I wanted to do.

‘I was very luck to have a lot of success but I’m still very much a homebody and I kind of lost my way a little bit with not being able to connect with my family.

‘I even think kind of disconnected with my family in a way.

‘We didn’t have the same conversation, we didn’t have the same depth of conversation.

‘We didn’t lose that love or that care but for me I just kind of felt like there was a bit of a split and it was a bit of a fork.

‘I wanted to come back to that. I wanted to come back to my family and come back to those that love me the most.’

MORE : John McEnroe in fresh criticism of Emma Raducanu after Australian Open exit

MORE : Rafael Nadal on brink of creating tennis history after overcoming pre-Australian Open fears

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