Ashleigh Barty, who once was a star cricketer, on Saturday won her maiden Grand Slam title in a dominant display, and became the definition of a change of pace. Barty outclassed Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-3 in the French Open 2019 women’s singles final. The Australian now ranks number 2 in the world rankings.
Here’s what you should know about the superstar performer:
- 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.
“I think Australians in general love their sport. That’s certainly no secret,” Barty had told WTA. “We’ve been very spoiled across all codes and forms of the game to have legends, those that have achieved unthinkable things, especially in tennis as well. We’ve had legends throughout all of tennis history in Australia,” she added.
- 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 go 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.
“It took a little while to get going, I had a couple slow games at the start,” she admitted. “Once I got moving and into the rhythm of things I felt like I was comfortable,” she claimed.
- 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.
— Ash Barty (@ashbarty) March 30, 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.
“There’s a long way to go. I just want to enjoy it. I want to make sure I prepare well, do everything right off the court so I can play with freedom and hopefully win a few matches for myself, my team, and everyone in the stadium,” she expressed.
- She also played for the Brisbane Heat cricket team in the 2015-16 Big Bash League.
- Hungrier than ever, Barty now eyes to continue competing for Grand Slams.
Feature Image Credit : The New Daily