Ash Barty: Fans go wild over Australian Open champ’s amazing celebration
As Ash Barty sealed yet another great triumph, the tennis superstar delighted in sharing the moment with three women who helped pull her through some of her toughest times.
Barty became the first local since Chris O’Neil in 1978 to claim an Australian Open singles title when she defeated Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Saturday night.
The Melbourne Park title followed Barty’s 2019 Roland Garros and 2021 Wimbledon successes.
The All England Club victory was marked by proud Ngarigo woman Barty paying a poignant tribute to tennis legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley through the dress she wore throughout her campaign.
Goolagong Cawley, herself a proud Wiradjuri woman, was among those who offered Barty support during her well-publicised break from tennis after the 2014 US Open.
It therefore only seemed appropriate that while O’Neil delivered the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup to Rod Laver Arena for Saturday night’s trophy ceremony, it was Goolagong Cawley who stepped out of the shadows to present it -- as both Barty and her idol’s eyes shimmered with would-be tears.
“I thought she wasn’t coming, and I’d spoken to her earlier in the week, and she was staying at home and not being able to travel down this year. So to have that surprise was amazing,” Barty said.
“It was really special just to be able to give her a hug. It’s the first time I’ve seen her in 12 months.
“We had a few hugs for a few different reasons, and to be able to actually see her in the flesh and chat to her was incredible.
“To be able to experience that together on such a big occasion, on such a beautiful court, and in a tournament that means so much to both of us, I think it was really nice to have her there just as someone to lean on when I wasn’t really sure what to do.
“She’s an amazing human being, and I’m very, very lucky to be able to call her a friend. Very lucky to be able to give her a hug in some of the biggest moments in my life.”
Another key supporter, Barty’s former doubles partner and “best mate” Casey Dellacqua, celebrated with Barty on court.
“I just wanted to give her a hug,” Barty said.
“She was one of the first people that I could see and give a hug to.
“She’s done so much for me as a person, and not just after big wins. She’s been there right from the start. I love her to death.”
It came as the nation went mad over Barty’s celebration, including cracking open a beer upon joining a panel of commentators.
She then insisted that the others on the panel, including close friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua and former Aussie tennis player Alicia Moli, join her as she didn’t want to drink alone.
It sent social media into a frenzy, with many fans joining her by saluting her with their own Corona.
One fan wrote: “Doubt she’ll ever have to pay for a beer in a pub again.”
And another was inspired to write a poem.
It came after Barty pulled off a remarkable 6-3 7-6 win over Collins.
Barty came back from 5-1 down in the second as Collins wilted under pressure.
It was an amazing performance from the world No. 1 as she claimed her third grand slam title — adding to her French Open win in 2019 and Wimbledon crown from last year.
Barty has now won majors on all three surfaces — clay, grass and hard court — an incredible feat that didn’t go unnoticed by Aussie tennis royalty Rod Laver, who was in the stands to see Barty’s emotional triumph.
Aussie great Rod Laver also shared an incredible backstage photo of Barty holding her trophy alongside Aussie tennis legends including himself, Goolagong Cawley, Judy Dalton and O’Neill.
In an incredible piece of symmetry, New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey tweeted that Barty had defeated the same four American players en route to her French Open win as she did at Melbourne Park this year.
As a hugely popular champion, the tennis world was quick to heap praise on Barty for her incredible achievement.
Barty was blown away by the victory on home soil, celebrating with friends and family at Rod Laver Arena.
“It’s a dream come true for me and I’m just so proud to be an Aussie,” Barty said.
“It’s incredible, time and time again we’ve come so close and now to have my hands on such a beautiful trophy after an exceptional fortnight is just unbelievable.
“But for me it’s about the memories more than the trophies, it’s the memories we make from the whole journey.
“We (her team) often talk about it being this incredible journey, this great adventure. It’s about making those things happen along the way and really enjoying it.”
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