Who is Ashleigh Barty?
- Barty became the first Australian woman in 44 years to win the singles title in Melbourne Park
- Barty idiolizes former Wimbledon champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
- Barty has played in Australia's Women's Big Bash League
Barty, who fulfilled her dream of winning a Wimbledon title on the 50th anniversary of fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley's first triumph last year, defeated Collins 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) in the final.
The 25-year-old was in imperious form going into the final, winning 10 matches in a row and losing just 21 games, without dropping a set, in the last six.
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After winning the first set with relative ease, Barty found herself trailing 1-5 in the second. But just as it seemed that world number 30 Collins will force a third set, Barty rallied back into the contest to take the set into the tiebreaker, where she blew her American opponent away.
Chris O'Neil was the last Australian woman to be crowned Australian Open singles champion, after defeating American Betsy Nagelsen in straight sets in 1978.
Who is Ashleigh Barty?
Former cricketer, Ashleigh Barty is from Ipswich, Queensland. She began playing tennis at the age of four. Barty reached a career-high ranking of No 2 in the world after winning the junior girls' singles title at Wimbledon in 2011.
She finished runner-up at three Grand Slam doubles events with veteran Casey Dellacqua including at the Australian Open while still only 16 years old.
In 2014, Barty decided to take an indefinite break from tennis and she took up cricket. Not many know, but the WTA No 1 signed up with the Brisbane Heat for the inaugural Women's Big Bash League.
"I wanted to experience life as a normal teenaged girl and have some normal experiences," she said of that decision.
She received the full support of her mentor and role model Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
"Hey Darl. Go and wet a line," texted Goolagong Cawley.
"What attracted me as a coach to her as a player, was her ability to pick up things really quickly," said Heat coach Andy Richards.
However, after one season Barty decided it was time to return to her first sporting love, tennis.
"After a break and trying other things, I missed tennis and decided that I wanted to come back."
Just as Evonne Goolagong Cawley has acted as both an inspiration and then as a mentor to Barty so she wants to do the same for younger generations of indigenous Australians.
"Evonne Goolagong Cawley has inspired me on and off the court since I was a young girl," said Barty.
"Evonne's outstanding achievements and her passion for helping the Indigenous community are two things I admire."
Barty is doing her bit as National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador, appointed by Tennis Australia in 2018 to encourage younger generations to take up tennis.
A year later, having won the French Open, the impact was seen as being potentially huge for indigenous Australians.
"She's (Barty) a great role model from an Indigenous young girl's point of view, having Ash as an idol, playing sport and making it -- this could help them figure out what they would like to do too," Sports Coordinator at South West Indigenous Network Kieren Gibbs told NITV News in 2019.
Barty is intent on building on that.
"There are more opportunities for kids to play tennis, both male and female, and I hope we can continue to create those opportunities and let kids know that this is an option for a career and even if it's not, it's a sport that they can play for life," said Barty.
Barty loves to pepper her press conferences with references to her 'great team' and often uses the word 'we' in tribute to them.
She is the only Australian woman after her mentor Cawley to top the WTA rankings.