It was a win in Birmingham that sealed the deal for Ash Barty, ending a brilliant month for the Australian player by seeing her become the world number one.
The first time an Australian woman has held the spot since 1976, when Barty’s hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley was at the top, Barty’s now just the 5th Australian to hold the title and the first overall since Lleyton Hewitt had it in June 2003.
And it comes after Barty won the French Open earlier this month, and now goes on to play at Wimbledon. She’s had 36 wins so far this year and just six defeats. Last night’s win in the Birmingham WTA event, 6-3, 7-5 over Julia Georges, was Barty’s twelfth straight win.
Barty’s rise to the top has been swift since she came back from a sabbatical in 2016, then ranked 623. Barty had spent the 18 months off playing Big Bash cricket with Brisbane Heat.
— WTA (@WTA) June 23, 2019
“You always dream of it as a little kid, but for it to become a reality is incredible, it really is,” Barty said on her new ranking after the tournament.
“It’s been the most incredible journey for myself and my team. To have this become a reality, I didn’t think that was in my realm this year.
“We started from scratch without a ranking and now to be where we are, not only for me, is a massive, massive achievement for them.”
Barty also acknowledged Goolagong Cawley during the interview. “To be able to follow in the footsteps of Evonne, even to be mentioned in the same sentence as her, is incredible,” she said.
“What she’s done for our sport, for Australians all around the world … she’s put us on the map.”