Ash Barty has started 2020 off with a bang, being awarded Young Australian of the Year. The 23-year-old from Ipswich was honoured with the achievement as part of the Awards ceremony.
Chair of the National Australia Day Council, Danielle Roche, said as part of the official announcement that Barty was doing her nation proud through her achievements.
“Ash Barty is the world’s number one tennis player, a champion athlete and an extraordinary young woman doing our nation proud,” Roche said.
“Her achievements are inspiring young Australians to follow their dreams.”
Unable to accept the award in person, due to her attendance at the Australian Open, Barty was presented the award by 2002 Australian of the Year and former Tennis champion, Pat Rafter, in an interview room at Melbourne Park.
Barty gave credit to her parents in the acceptance of the award, saying her values have been entrenched through their guidance.
“All of my values that I’ve lived by and try to live by every single day, regardless of whether it’s in sport … all come from Mum and Dad,” Barty said.
“It’s about being humble and respectful, and giving it a crack – trying to be the best you can be, and that’s all you can ask of yourself.”
Barty had a standout year in 2019, becoming the world number one seed after defeating Czech rival Marketa Vondrousova in the French Open. That particular win also made Barty the first Australian to win at the Roland Garros since Margaret Court’s win in 1973.
Barty also took out the Don Award as part of the awards for the Australian Sports Hall of Fame, an award given to the individual or team who most inspires a nation.
The tennis star gave away the game in 2014 to try her hand at cricket, which had been a previous passion of the 23-year-old. Barty entered the Big Bash League and played one season for the Brisbane Heat before returning to tennis.
Barty also donated over $30,000 to a wildlife foundation at the height of the bushfires that raged through New South Wales, Victoria and parts of Queensland through December and January.
Even in defeat Barty is still humble. After losing her Australian Open singles match this week, Barty attended her post-match press conference holding her niece, Olivia, and despite the defeat was still taking her rocket to the top into perspective.
“I mean, perspective is a beautiful thing. Life is a beautiful thing. [Olivia] brought a smile to my face as soon as I came off court. I got to give her a hug. It’s all good. It’s all good,” Barty said.
By Caris Duncan