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Ash Barty: The face of Australian sport we can all be proud of.

Update: Ash Barty has become the first Australian woman since Margaret Court in 1973 to win the French Open.

The 23-year-old beat unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3 in Paris on Saturday to become Australia’s fourth French Open champion, and first in 46 years.

It was the first time since the great Margaret Court in 1973 that an Australian woman has claimed the title.

Barty, who only returned to tennis three years ago, was ruthlessly efficient against the 19-year-old as she became just the 17th Australian female player to win a grand slam.

“It’s remarkable,” Barty said.

“At the moment it’s a bit too much and a bit out there, really.

“But it’s amazing.We have done the work, and we tried to put ourselves in these positions. Now that we’re here, it’s just incredible.”

Barty’s success in Paris means she is the ninth different winner from the last 10 slams and a genuine contender for Wimbledon next month on her favourite surface of grass.

Five years after quitting the sport in despair, Barty has now joined Australian legends Margaret Court (1962, ’64, ’69, ’70, ’73), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1971) and Lesley Bowrey (1963, ’65) on the Roland Garros honour roll

“For the last fortnight, the stars have aligned for me. I have been able to play really good tennis when I’ve needed it,” she said.

“I never dreamt that I’d be sitting here with this trophy here at the French Open. I mean, obviously we have dreams and goals as children, but this is incredible.”

The new queen of clay will also pocket a cool $3.74 million after taking out her maiden grand slam at a tournament where she’d never passed the second round on five previous visits.

Her new ranking will be the highest of an Australian woman since Goolagong Cawley reached top spot in 1976, and she follows her idol’s footsteps by becoming the second Indigenous Australian to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup.

“Evonne sent me a text a couple days ago and said this was her first grand slam,” she said.

“I spotted her name on the trophy. I’ll give her a call a little bit later on. She’s created this path for indigenous tennis in Australia and I think now it’s becoming more nationwide.

“There are more opportunities for kids to start playing tennis, both male and female.”

*****

Ashleigh Barty is Australia’s greatest tennis hope this decade. She is currently our nation’s highest-ranked player, placed as the World No. 8.

On Friday night she secured her spot in her first Grand Slam final as she beat out American teenager Amanda Anisimova in a two-sets-to-one win.

She was casually dominant in the final two sets and appeared effortless in her swings.

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She didn’t smash rackets or argue with the umpire. Her pure skill in the sport simply shone through.

But you may not know much about the 23-year-old Indigenous woman. Compared to fellow Australian players such as Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, whose controversial antics seem to dominate every headline they make, Ash Barty is quiet in her triumphs – of which there are many.

Her achievements in the tennis world have been sensational and her passion for the game is clear. She is a tennis player that Australia can be unreservedly proud of.

It’s hard not to imagine, though, how Australia would be reacting if this was – for example – Nick Kyrgios in the Final of a Grand Slam. In his professional career he has not yet gone further than a quarter-final in a Grand Slam, and it is a fair assumption that he would have attracted a lot more media attention had he achieved what Barty has been able to.

But what makes Barty different is her attitude.

“When I am playing well I’m really enjoying myself out on court and that is all I can ask of every match,” she said earlier this year during the Australian Open. “If I win it’s a bonus.”

“If I lose, the sun still comes up the next day and it’s all good.”

Ash Barty bio – who is Ash Barty?

Ash Barty is Australia’s number one tennis player.

Born in 1996, Barty grew up in Springfield, Queensland, with her parents Josie and Robert Barty and two older sisters, Sara and Ali. Her father is from the Ngarigo indigenous people and her mother is of English descent.

According to Sydney Morning Herald she met her junior tennis coach Jim Joyce when she was five years old and when she was nine he was making her practice against 15 year old boys. Joyce says she was winning so many matches in the junior competitions that she began to donate the trophies to struggling tennis clubs.

At the age of 15, Barty became the 2011 junior Wimbledon champion.

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Image via Getty.
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Ash Barty's tennis break.

Despite being the junior Wimbledon champion, at 17 years old Barty stepped away from playing professional tennis due to the overwhelming demand she felt and it's impact on her mental state.

"I went from not being known anywhere in the world to winning junior Wimbledon and six months later playing the Australian Open," Barty has said about her juniors career. "I was a victim of my own success, really."

Barty says she felt depressed and knew stepping away from the game professionally was necessary for her mental state.

A true athlete, during her tennis hiatus Barty played in the Women's Big Bash League for Brisbane Heat.

When she returned in 2016, she said: “It was good for me and my mind. I feel like I’m back happy and healthier and playing some good tennis at the moment. I’m back, happier and healthier.’’

Ash Barty's return.

Barty started 2017 ranked 325 in the world, but since then has been able to secure three singles titles: the AYLA Malaysian Open, Nottingham and the WTA Elite Trophy.

Last year she won her first Grand Slam title being the US Open's women's doubles final alongside American CoCo Vandeweghe.

Her success since returning also saw her win the Newcombe Medal alongside fellow Aussie, Alex De Minaur.

This year she has shown that she is playing better than ever.

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Ash Barty off the court.

Barty has been named National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador by Tennis Australia in an effort to inspire more Indigenous youth to play tennis.

"I’m very proud of my Indigenous heritage and to be named as a National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador. Giving back to my community is very important to me and I hope to inspire many more Indigenous kids to get active and enjoy their tennis," the tennis star posted to her Twitter page.

And on Instagram she is the kind of woman you would want your daughter or son to follow. She posts candid moments with her dogs, snaps with her boyfriend and photos from her tennis career.

 

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Pit stop for a puppachino ????????????

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Second week feels ????✨????

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Sunday arvo swings with the Gorgeous Gremlins ????????????

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What a year! Thank you 2018. Cheers, Alex ????

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I made a friend ???? #GarryforGetty ????

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On Saturday night, Ash Barty became the first Australian woman since Margaret Court in 1973 to win the French Open.

She really is the face of Australian Sport right now.

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