Women's French Open Winner Barty Opens Up About Her Cricketing Days

Annette Crawford
June 13, 2019

"And it was even better to come back", said Barty on Saturday.

But they are part of a new generation of female players brimming with self-assurance, confident they can hold their own against Williams, as 20-year-old Sofia Kenin did, ousting the three-time French Open champion in the third round. And weeks later, she became the first Australian in 46 years to lift the French Open and only the second indigenous Australian after Evonne Goolagong Cawley. Emotion, justification and sheer relief and joy.

Instead, it was to a number of other great players that she paid tribute - the former World No 1 Evonne Goolagong Cawley, with whom she shares an indigenous Australian heritage, and to former doubles No 1 Samantha Stosur, who, in the years after Goolagong Cawley, was one of the biggest faces in Australia's women's tennis.

Fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios was one of the first to congratulate her on her victory over Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Saturday - super-imposing the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen on an old photo of a tiny Barty holding a junior trophy.

Ashleigh Barty hugs Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic after their women's final at the French Open. Barty also broke Vondrousova five separate occasions.

It was only some way through the second set that we saw the Vondrousova, who toppled seeds in quick succession, attempt to mark a comeback.

2019 truly has been a breakout year for Barty, a prodigious athlete who had successes across sports. The 23-year-old's Roland Garros breakthrough not only catapulted her to world No 2 but sparked a wave of support from across the globe. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said: "it is only a great tennis player, she is also a great Ambassador for Australia".

One of Barty's only missteps came just before the playing of her national anthem during the trophy ceremony, when she had to be instructed where to stand. She has made no secret of the fact that grass is her favourite surface, and although her game has been successful across surfaces, it is still most suited to grass. Next year, she would prove her enormous prowess at the doubles. "She relaxed more in the final and had a structured game plan and did awesome".

At the end of past year, she won the WTA Elite Trophy to add to her US Open women's double title with Coco Vandeweghe.

After rising to the top ranks of junior tennis, she quit competing in 2014, picked up a cricket bat and played professionally for the Brisbane Heat for almost two seasons. Her parents, perhaps not expecting this run, were set to join her only for the grass season.

"You're an awesome player and you're such a nice person, so you deserve this".

Australia's Ashleigh Barty won her first grand slam tournament.

Still in her teens, and starting off with no significant ranking to speak of, Barty steamrolled through 2017 - her year of transformation in every possible way.

In 2014, Barty, then 18, took a break from tennis after suffering depression from the high pressure of the WTA tour.

The one thing missing in her tool chest was perhaps the killer instinct. Her serve is strong and effective and she leads the first serve charts at this year's tournament. In this game you can't sit still and she knows that.

For all her huge skill, though, Barty's biggest weapon was, and will remain, her resolve. "And I can successfully say that we got to the end of the clay-court season and I did not fall over once", she said with a smile.

Hers is a country with a proud history in tennis, of course.

Vondrousova had knocked out Jo Konta in the semi-final yesterday and had not dropped a set all tournament.

The tennis champ shared the encouraging text message she received from Goolagong Cawley more recently.

Court won more Grand Slam titles than anyone else, 24.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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