World number one Ashleigh Barty has not only won the WTA Finals on Sunday but has also bagged a massive US$4.42 million paycheque – the highest sum ever rewarded in men’s and women’s tennis. She broke the record by outclassing defending champion Elina Svitolina to win the WTA Finals. Barty’s luck and strategies in beating Svitolina failed in five previous attempts. Recovering from that jinx, she won over Svitolina 6-4, 6-3 in a match that lasted for one hour and 26 minutes. “It’s been the most incredible year for me,” says the Australian after the match.

The 23-year-old Australian claimed the straight sets victory, her first in six attempts against her Ukrainian opponent, and earned a $4.42 million prize.

Barty’s brilliant season continues to glow which also includes a French Open crown and the year-end number one ranking. She next eyes to compete in Australia’s Fed Cup title on November 9-10. “Bizarre, if I’m being completely honest,” she said of her victory, according to the Women’s Tennis Association. “It feels like it’s been a year that just hasn’t stopped. It’s been a year of incredible ups and downs – I think more ups than downs. To cap it off with a very, very special night tonight in Shenzhen is really cool.”  Coach Craig Tyzzer, who guided her from 2016 to her current heights, is behind Barty’s success.

Key Takeaways:

  • World No 1 Ashleigh Barty earns $4.42m after winning title 6-4, 6-3 in the WTA Finals. It was her first victory in six attempts against the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina
  • Ashleigh Barty claims biggest prize money in tennis history at WTA Finals
  • Barty produced one of the best matches of her career in the final

The journey to World No 1 was outstanding since Barty started the season ranked 15th without a grand slam quarter-final to her name. She finishes the season as the best player in the world. She made it to the top 10 in March, when she won the Miami Open. And, she won four tournaments back to back and claimed Roland Garros and Birmingham titles to become world No 1.

“To come through a week like this you have to beat the best of the best,” she said. “It takes me back to some memories in Miami, where I felt like I did that for the first time, beating back-to-back top-10 players, having that really consistent week. I’ve grown and developed so much since that fortnight. To be able to bounce back after the disappointment after my match with Kiki [Bertens here] was really important.”

In June this year, Barty, who once was a star cricketer, became only the second Australian woman to top the world rankings after winning the Birmingham WTA title.

The 23-year-old French Open champion is the second Australian woman after seven-time Grand Slam champion Yvonne Goolagong-Cawley, who held it for a fortnight in 1976, to top the world rankings.

Career so far:

  • Barty had once left tennis racquets and picked up the cricket bat. Just three years ago, a professional cricketer then could have played for Australia’s national team but fate took a different turn.
  • After the US Open five years ago, Barty left competitive tennis. A successful junior player Barty won the 2011 Wimbledon girls’ title, and played in three doubles finals too.
  • Barty, who came in the French Open seeded eighth, became the first Australian in 46 years to lift the women’s trophy at Roland Garros.
  • The pressure and expectations took a toll on her as she decided to take a break from tennis. She chose cricket in 2014 and joined a professional team at home in Australia. She played the women’s Big Bash League for Brisbane Heat, playing nine matches for a top score of 39.
  • The 23-year-old is the first player from her country to win in Paris since Margaret Court in 1973.
  • Earlier this year at the Miami Open, Barty had a career-high 15 aces and became the newest 2019 titlist on the WTA circuit. The former professional cricket player won her fourth tennis title and the biggest of her career.
  • She also became the fifth different Miami Open women’s champion in the past five years, and she’s the 14th different WTA titlist in 2019.
  • She made her country proud by winning the Wimbledon girls’ title in 2011 at age 15, but gave up tennis to play professional cricket in Brisbane before returning to the tour in 2016.
  • She also played for the Brisbane Heat cricket team in the 2015-16 Big Bash League.
  • Hungrier than ever, Barty overtook the top ranking from Japan’s Naomi Osaka after winning Birmingham Classic.
  • She is the first Australian after legendary champion Goolagong Cawley to achieve the title.

READ: Retribution In Tutu: Serena Williams’ Fitting Reply To Catsuit Ban

Feature Image Credit : The New Daily

Read More Stories By Ria Das

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.