Credit: Steven Pisano from Brooklyn, NY, USA, 2014 US Open (Tennis) – Tournament – Ashleigh Barty (15071906776) (cropped), CC BY 2.0
Ashleigh Barty is the current women’s World Number One tennis player and the French Open winner in 2019.
The New York Times explains how she was just 23 when she picked up her first Grand Slam victory, beating Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets to kick off what looks like a promising career. She is also a four-time Grand Slam doubles finalist, winning the US Open with partner Casey Dellacqua. She was a finalist in the doubles event at Wimbledon in 2013 whilst still a teenager and was rated as the favorite by Bwin to take the singles title at this year’s event in London. It is a return to form for the top female player globally after being forced to withdraw from the 2021 French Open with a hip injury. She also missed the previous French Open courtesy of the pandemic and hasn’t defended her title. Still, taking a break from tennis isn’t entirely new to her, as you will find out below.
Here are some more incredible facts about the 23-year-old Australian star.
- She was born in Ipswich, Queensland, in April 1996 and still calls the town with a population of just 2,500 her home.
- Her first Wimbledon triumph came in 2011, when she won the junior title, beating Irina Kromacheva.
- In 2019, she became the first Australian female to reach the quarter-finals of her home tournament in a decade. A year later, she went one better, losing to eventual winner Sofia Kenin in the semi-finals.
- Aged 18, Barty stepped away from tennis to pursue a career in cricket. She played for Brisbane Heat in the women’s Big Bash League, hitting 39 from 27 balls on her debut.
- She has spoken openly about the pressures faced by professional athletes, which is part of the reason she took time out of tennis. She returned to the tour in 2016 with a fresh outlook on her career and hasn’t looked back.
- During their Australian Open round of 32 match in 2019, opponent Maria Sharapova took a seven-minute comfort break, much to the crowd’s ire. Designed clearly to put Barty off, it had the opposite effect, and she rallied to win the game.
- She is the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia. In the role, she promotes tennis participation amongst indigenous Australians. “I’m a very proud Indigenous woman, and I think that for me taking on this role is something very close to my heart. I’m very excited,” she said in 2018.
- In 2019, she was recognized as the Female Sportsperson of the Year and Dreamtime Person of the Year at the National Dreamtime Awards, which is an awards ceremony that acknowledges Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement in sport, arts, and academic community.
- When not playing tennis, Barty enjoys reading, video games and fishing.
- She is also a keen sports fan and supports Richmond in the Australian Football League, Manchester United in the English Premier League, and Wests Tigers in the National Rugby League. She presented the Premiership Cup to Richmond at the end of their 2020 AFL Grand Final win against Geelong.