By: Amy Cheng
Ash Barty has won her first Wimbledon title, following in the footsteps of one of her heroes.
Her win marks the 50th anniversary of Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s first Wimbledon title in 1971; she was the first Indigenous Australian woman to win the title.
“I hope I made Evonne proud,” Barty said during her post-match interview, tearing up.
The match was won in three sets 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 against Czech Karolina Pliskova, who Barty said was an “exceptional” competitor.
“I think a lot of the time I feel like she’s underestimated, and she is one hell of a competitor,” she told reporters.
Barty, a Ngarigo woman, is the second Indigenous woman to win Wimbledon, after her idol Goolagong Cawley.
“She has been iconic in paving a way for young Indigenous youth to believe in their dreams and to chase their dreams, and she’s done exactly that for me,” she said.
Barty is also the first Australian to win a singles title at the tournament since Lleyton Hewitt won the men’s final in 2002.
Along with Goolagong Cawley and Margaret Court – who was the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon and has won the tournament three times – Barty becomes only the third Australian woman to win the singles title.
“Australians have such a rich history in sport, and I think being able to be a very small part of that is something I always dreamt of,” Barty said.
“To try and create a legacy and try to create a young path for young boys and girls to believe in their dreams.”
However, Barty’s win at the tournament was not the only historical moment in this year’s tournament.
When she and fellow Australian Ajla Tomljanovic advanced to the fourth round, it was the first time in more than 30 years that two Australian women made the round of 16.
The last time was in 1989 when Jo-Anne Faull and Hana Mandlikova clashed.
And when Barty and Tomljanovic faced off in the quarterfinals, it was the first time in 41 years, when Evonne Goolagong Cawley defeated Wendy Turnbull during her title-winning run.
“It’s more important to be a good person than it is a good tennis player,” – Ash Barty
Where it all began
Barty began playing tennis at the age of four in 2000 and then launched her professional career 10 years later at an International Tennis Federation event in Ipswich.
A year later, she won her first junior grand slam at Wimbledon, defeating Irina Khromacheva.
However, in 2014, Barty decided to take a break from tennis and took up cricket, joining the Brisbane Heat team to compete in the first season of the Women’s Big Bash League. After two years, she returned to tennis again.
It has always been her dream to win the Wimbledon title.
“For tennis players all over the globe, I feel like Wimbledon is where tennis was born essentially, this was where it all started,” she said.
Despite her win, her priority is not to be the best in the game.
“It’s more important to be a good person than it is a good tennis player… that’s always my priority is making sure that I’m a good human being,” she said.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.