Barty 'humbled' after joining tennis royalty

Australian Open winner says ‘there’s still work to be done’ after snaring majors on all surfaces

AFP January 30, 2022


Ashleigh Barty says she feels "humbled" to have joined tennis royalty's most exclusive club with a Grand Slam crown on three different surfaces, but vowed: "There's still work to be done."

The 25-year-old achieved the feat by becoming the Australian Open's first home champion in 44 years when she came from 1-5 down in the second set of Saturday's final to beat Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (7/2).

It followed her breakthrough French Open success in 2019 and Wimbledon last year, putting her in elite company.

The only other active players to snare majors on clay, grass and hard courts are legends of the sport – Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.

Barty and Williams are the only two to win their first three Slams on three surfaces.

"I feel very humble to be in such a select group. To be honest, I don't really feel like I belong with those champions of our sport," said the world number one.

"I'm still very much learning and trying to refine my craft and try and learn every single day and get better and better."

Even her coach Craig Tyzzer is amazed at what Barty has achieved.

"I think we've all got to sit back and just look at what she's been able to do on different surfaces and just her ability to play the level of tennis that she does," he said.

"I mean, sometimes I'm just in awe of it."

Widely seen as one of the nicest players on tour, Barty has also rapidly become its best, with her dizzying array of slices, pinpoint serving and seamless forehand typifying her all-round game.

She often pays tribute to Tyzzer for helping her become the player that she is, but it started at a much younger age with childhood coach Jim Joyce.

"Ultimately that was one of the biggest challenges that Jim set out for me when I was young – to be a complete player and be really consistent across all surfaces and be able to play on all surfaces," she said.

"So to have a Grand Slam title on each surface is pretty amazing. I never probably thought it would ever happen to me. So very, very lucky and very humbled and privileged to be able to be a part of it."

But the Australian added: "There's still work to be done, without a doubt."

Barty said she spent the night after her triumph quietly, having a few drinks with her team and getting to bed at a reasonable hour, before posing for pictures with the trophy in a Melbourne park on Sunday morning.

She told reporters that becoming the first Australian to win her home Grand Slam since Chris O'Neill in 1978 was hard to compare with her other titles in Paris and London.

"They are all very different, all very different stages of my life," she said.

"I think to be able to have this feeling and experience this a few times over, I just understand how fortunate I am to be able to experience that because not many people get to do that.

"I think it's just been an incredible journey over this past 20 years of hitting a tennis ball but particularly the last five or six years in this second phase of my career."

She will now head home to Queensland to spend time with family and fiance Garry Kissick to take stock, before deciding on the next step of her career.

"I'll now reset and look forward to the next chapter," she said.


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