Five years ago, Ash Barty, who last night won the French Open, decided to quit tennis.
Then 18 and a junior Wimbledon champion, she was depressed and lonely.
She now remembers a text message she received from Evonne Goolagong Cawley – an Australian tennis great who had become a mentor.
“Hey, darl,” the message read.
“Good decision. Go and wet a line.”
For the next two years, Barty played cricket in the women’s Big Bash League, before eventually returning to tennis.
On Saturday night, Barty became the first Australian woman in 46 years to win the French Open, and the second First Nations woman in history.
The first was Goolagong Cawley herself, a Wiradjuri woman who won seven Grand Slam singles titles throughout her career. She is also the only mother to have won Wimbledon since 1914 – a title that still stands.
Goolagong Cawley said in a statement, “I’m almost scared to say it but it’s now 48 years ago since I won my first slam there too.