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Australia’s Ashleigh Barty crowned world’s No.1 female player after taking Birmingham title

AFP, June 24, 2019 8:15AM AFP

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Ashleigh Barty of Australia with her trophy in Birmingham. Picture: Getty Images for LTA media_cameraAshleigh Barty of Australia with her trophy in Birmingham. Picture: Getty Images for LTA

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Ashleigh Barty has achieved her childhood dream to be named the world’s top female player.

Barty took the world No.1 ranking* after winning the Birmingham WTA title on Sunday, beating her usual doubles partner Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5.

The 23-year-old French Open champion has now achieved the same ranking as Evonne Goolagong Cawley — another indigenous Australian — who held the world top spot for a fortnight in 1976.

Only four Australians other than Barty have held the No.1 crown since computer rankings were introduced in 1973 — Goolagong Cawley, John Newcombe, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt.

Nature Valley Classic - Day Seven media_cameraAshleigh Barty of Australia plays a backhand shot during Birmingham title win. Picture: Getty Images

Barty replaces Japan’s Naomi Osaka as women’s world No.1 just three years after she returned to tennis after taking time off to play cricket.

“I mean you always dream of it as a little kid, but for it to become a reality is incredible, it really is,” said Barty.

“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 said of her team.

Ash Barty: Aussie tennis star claims world number one ranking

She added it was an honour to follow in Goolagong Cawley’s footsteps.

“To be able to follow in the footsteps of Evonne, even to be mentioned in the same sentence as her, is incredible,” said Barty.

“What she’s done for our sport, for Australians all around the world, not (those) just based in Australia, she’s put us on the map.

“And what she’s done for indigenous Australians is just remarkable.”

Barty said her celebrations would have to be pretty low key with the famous Wimbledon tournament starting on Monday.

“We’ll just be very boring, to be completely honest, we’ve got a big couple of weeks coming up,” she said.


GLOSSARY

  • ranking: in order of importance
  • scratch: nothing or the start of something

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is Ashleigh Barty’s world ranking?
  2. Who is the only other Australian woman to achieve the same ranking?
  3. Name three other Aussies who have held No.1 since computer rankings came in.
  4. What other sport did Barty play before returning to tennis?
  5. Who did Barty defeat in the Birmingham final?

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