Ash Barty has claimed her third grand slam title after taking out the Australian Open (AO) on Saturday.
Barty took to the Rod Laver Arena where she defeated United States’ Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), and broke a 44 year drought – becoming the first Australian to claim the title since 1978.
Barty had an incredible run during her time at the AO winning in constant straight sets, despite only just claiming her second Adelaide International title in three years earlier this month.
“I’m looking forward to a little bit of rest and just being able to let it soak all in because it’s been an incredible fortnight for all of us,” she said.
Barty is also the second First Nations woman to lift the trophy since Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s victory run from 1974 to 1977.
In a touching moment, Goolagong Cawley was there to hand the Ngarigo woman her trophy which Barty said was a “hell of a suprise.”
“I had spoken to her earlier in the week and knew that she wasn’t going to be coming to this tournament and to have her surprise me and hand me a beautiful trophy is a moment I will never forget.”
Also to Barty’s surprise Olympics champion Cathy Freeman was in the crowd cheering her on.
“Looking up at the end to see Cathy, she is an inspiration, and inspiration to so many people all around the globe,” Barty said.
“For our heritage and family, she is just the best.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2022
Although social media is blowing up with the photo of the three incredible First Nations women, Barty humbly said “I am certainly not at their level.”
“Cathy and Evonne are exceptional people, exceptional athletes, and they have paved the path for so many of us.
“I am still in the category of trying to follow in their footsteps and be the best that I can, but to be a really small part of a legacy that they have created is really cool and I am just trying to create my own pathway and guideline of what they have done for us and our culture and heritage. They are two absolute superstars.”
According to Channel Nine Barty’s win was one of the most viewed women’s final since records were started in 1999.
Barty is still sitting comfortably at the top of the WTA rankings with no signs of slowing down.
By Teisha Cloos