Born in Queensland in April 1996, Ashleigh Barty has shown that Australian tennis has plenty to offer. Over the years, the country has been at the forefront of showcasing the talent within the game. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Margaret Court dominated female tennis, winning a combined 18 Grand Slams.
Following their triumphs, Australia’s home-grown talent failed to enjoy sustained success. After Samantha Stosur won the US Open in 2011, she looked to be the next breakthrough star from Down Under. However, that failed to materialise, and now the country’s hopes rest with Ashleigh Barty, the 2019 French Open champion. But can she follow in the footsteps of Cawley and Court?
The Importance of Following Your Heart
At the time of writing, the future looks bright for the 24-year-old. Currently, she’s the top-ranked female player in the world, ahead of two-time Grand Slam winner, Simona Halep, and Naomi Osaka. Fascinatingly, however, success hasn’t been easy to come by for the promising Australian. In 2014, after thriving at youth level, she decided to walk away from tennis and instead take up cricket, despite having never played the bat-and-ball sport at a professional level.
Unsurprisingly, Barty turned out to be a more-than-capable cricketer, being selected by the Brisbane Heat for the Women’s Big Bash League shortly before returning to tennis. From there, her on-court career went from strength to strength. Barty epitomises the need to find happiness in your working life and showcases that it’s natural to explore new, exciting opportunities. Ultimately, her decision to switch back to tennis proved fruitful. Following her 2019 triumph over Marketa Vondrousova, she became the first Australian woman to win the French Open since Court in 1973.
Can She Become an All-Time Great?
As a result of her recent success, there’s now a weight of expectation surrounding the rest of Barty’s professional career. However, it stems from optimism that she can replicate the legendary form of iconic players before her. It’s a testament to her new-found drive to win and be the very best in tennis that, in 2020, she won the Young Australian of the Year award. Along with her on-court success, she also received the honour for her work as the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia.
Of course, to become an all-time great, the current world number one needs to add more Grand Slams to her collection. She’ll be targeting success on home soil at the 2021 Australian Open and, as of February 3rd, she’s 10/1 in tennis betting to win her second French Open. Impressively, should she become a two-time French Open winner, then she’ll surpass Cawley’s record in the competition.
An Inspiration to Local Women
Throughout her career, Barty has worked tirelessly for her success. Although she’s talented, that only gets you so far in life if you aren’t prepared to work hard, so it’s clear to see why many people look up to her. She’s held in high regard by Australian tennis fans, and the potential is there for her to become the modern-day Court.