Australian tennis sensation Ash Barty has won the prestigious WTA Finals in China, beating Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-3, and taken home the biggest winner’s cheque in the sports’ history.
The prize money totalling $AUD6.4 million, is the most money any tennis player – man or woman – has received for winning a tournament.
Incredible ✨ pic.twitter.com/jf4j96owF6
— Ash Barty (@ashbarty) November 3, 2019
It caps off an epic year for Barty in which she won the French Open, became the world number one female tennis player (and first Australian women to do so in 43 years) and has amassed more than $US10 million in prize money.
“It’s been the most incredible year for me,” Barty said at the trophy presentation in Shenzhen. She is the first Australian to win the WTA Finals since 1976 when her idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley took the trophy home.
The WTA Finals win means Barty will end the year as number one, the first Australian woman to do so since 1973 when rankings were introduced.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) November 3, 2019
Barty’s win against Elina Svitolina was significant: they have played five games since 2017 and this was the first match in which Barty prevailed.
Her plans for reflecting on and celebrating 2019 are modest.
“Give me a week at home with a few beers on the couch where I can kind of relive what has happened in 2019. It’s just been a crazy year, it really has. It feels like it’s been a year that just hasn’t stopped … at times it felt like a circus going around and around. To cap it off with a very, very special night tonight in Shenzhen is really cool.”
As for the prize money, aside from splurging on her niece and nephew, who are 3 and 2, Barty’s plans are low key.
“Thankfully they can’t read but for Christmas they’re getting a new swing set, which they’re pretty excited about now that they’ve got the trampoline and swing set out the back,” she told AAP in Shenzhen.
“So, look, I mean the amount of zeros you have in the bank account doesn’t change how I’m going to spend my off-season and spend time with my family.
“Because that’s one of the biggest times that I miss throughout the year, is spending genuine time with them. It’s great that I can buy them things that they love but I live a pretty simple life. I’m not living an extravagant life.
“I’m pretty happy in my little house at home. I’ve got everything that I need. I’m pretty boring. I don’t really spend a lot on myself.”