Former World No. 1 tennis champion Ash Barty was named Person of the Year at the 2022 NAIDOC Awards.
A proud Ngarigo woman, Barty was recognised by the NAIDOC Committee for her contribution to children’s education and sport, after retiring from tennis earlier this year.
Barty is currently in the United States to compete in a golf tournament but accepted the award via a video message at the awards ceremony on the weekend.
“I can’t wait to continue my contribution to youth sport and education,” she said in the video.
“Helping inspire kids to go after their dreams is something I am very passionate about, and I am committed to giving back in this next chapter of my life.”
The annual NAIDOC Week Awards recognise the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in improving the lives of others, and promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the wider community.
Barty is a three-time grand slam singles champion and was the first Australian woman to hold the No. 1 singles ranking since Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
She works in a range of community-based ambassador roles, including as the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador at Tennis Australia, and as an ambassador for the State Library of Queensland, where she supports the education of Indigenous children.
Barty’s family including her mother, father and sister were in attendance at the NAIDOC Awards ceremony, with her father Robert accepting the award on her behalf.
In accepting the award, Robert spoke about her relationship with Evonne Goolagong Cawley and what winning Wimbledon last year meant to her.
“It was a perfect storm, 10 years since Ash won junior Wimbledon, and it was NAIDOC Week, and she ended up winning Wimbledon,” he said
“Fast forward 6 months she gets to the Australian Open and we had an inkling that tennis was not going to be around for a long time for Ash and she wanted to go out as high as she possibly could.”