Published: Mon, June 10, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Ash Barty: From chooks and trucks to the Queen of Roland Garros

Ash Barty: From chooks and trucks to the Queen of Roland Garros

Any doubt about Ashleigh Barty's popularity inside and outside the tennis world has been blown away by the incredible reaction to her French Open triumph.

But Barty returned on her own timetable, first mainly to doubles, then gradually to singles, appearing rejuvenated, if one can apply the term to a then-21-year-old.

Joy and disbelief crossed Barty's expressive face after she scrambled to fetch a defensive lob from Vondrousova near the net post and smashed it home.

The results the first five times Barty entered the French Open: three losses in the first round, two in the second round.

Both No. 8 seed Ashleigh "Ash" Barty of Australia and unseeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic had never so much as made a major singles semifinal before this tournament, much less competed for a Grand Slam singles title. The Aussie took 12 minutes to take a 5-0 lead in the first set - winning 17 of the first 18 points - before Anisimova took six consecutive games.

Court, a Christian minister whose record 24 Grand Slam singles titles spanned the end of the amateur and start of the professional era, said she was particularly delighted at Barty's demeanour. I wasn't used to playing matches again.

The decline in the Australian men's game from the dominant days of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s came more slowly than in the women's but has been no less marked with no Grand Slam champions since Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2002. She's pretty low-key and humble. It's wonderful she's created this path for indigenous tennis in Australia and not - you know, I think now it's becoming more nationwide. The start was delayed by nearly two hours because of the weather, and the unfinished men's semifinal, but the 23-year-old Aussie was on top of it.

"She nearly can't believe it, nor can I. It's quite phenomenal what she's been through", Dellacqua said. They were with them at their place all glued to the TV, ' said the new champion.

Barty insists her hard work will pay dividends and believes her serve and on-court smarts are what have made her one of the top players in the world.

"You gave me a lesson today", Vondrousova said to Barty during the trophy ceremony at Court Philippe Chatrier.

All traceable, in some way, to her time away from the sport.

"She's number two in the world now but she can still improve on getting into the net on the right balls".

Barty has emerged as a champion unaffected by fame or success. He remembers a youngster so determined and mature that she could easily have matched players twice her age. But that's not part of Ash's game and that's why she's one of the most watchable tennis players.

"First thing I did this morning was jump out of bed, put the replay on and watch the last three or four games to make sure it really happened. She's doing our country proud and with the way she plays, how exciting she is and the type of person she is, I hope it draws a whole new audience to tennis and a lot of families turn to the game and have a hit".

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