Nature Valley Classic - Day Seven
Nature Valley Classic - Day Seven

Barty celebrates No 1 ranking in Aussie style

ASH Barty, the world's brand new number one, celebrated her historic rise in the best Australian way possible.

Elevated into the pantheon of tennis greats by becoming only the 27th woman in 46 years to climb to No 1, Barty revelled briefly with her team, boyfriend Garry Kissick and parents Robert and Josie before getting back to business.

The first Australian woman since Evonne Goolagong in 1976 to ascend the rankings summit, Barty completed formalities at Edgbaston Priory Club before jumping in a car and heading down the M40 to Eastbourne.

"We'll just be very boring, to be completely honest, we've got a big couple of weeks coming up," the Queenslander said of the 300km trip to the South Coast, referencing Wimbledon next week.

 

Ash Barty took the crown in Edgbaston.
Ash Barty took the crown in Edgbaston.

"Make sure we're ready to go, but we'll certainly have a beer or two."

Barty, 23, will formally move to No 1 today, usurping Naomi Osaka.

She will return to the court most likely on Tuesday as top seed at the Nature Valley International at Devon Park.

And, in a first for Australia, she will be the first Australian female top seed at Wimbledon since computer rankings were introduced in 1973.

Barty struggled to reconcile comparisons with Goolagong, winner of seven majors.

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

"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.

 

Ash Barty with the spoils in Edgbaston.
Ash Barty with the spoils in Edgbaston.

"And what she's done for indigenous Australians is just remarkable."

It comes as Chris Evert led a flood of tributes for Barty after the Australian's astonishing journey from career oblivion to world No 1.

Evert, the first woman to hold the world No 1 computer ranking in November 1975, said Barty's journey was an inspiration.

"Ash Barty is living proof that variety and finesse have a place in modern tennis, alongside power," Evert, winner of 18 majors, said.

"As well as being an incredible player and consistent performer on the tour, she is a fantastic role model, respected by her WTA peers and fans around the world for her sportsmanship and humility.

"She is a champion in the best traditions, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for her."

Barty paid tribute to her team, headed by Craig Tyzzer and manager Nikki Craig.

"I mean you always dream of it (world No 1 ranking) as a little kid, but for it to become a reality is incredible, it really is," she said after becoming the first Australian to win the Birmingham title 6-3 7-5 over German Julia Goerges.

"It's not something that was really in my realm.

 

Chris Evert, with Ash Barty at Roland Garros, called the Australian “a champion in the best traditions”. Picture: Getty Images
Chris Evert, with Ash Barty at Roland Garros, called the Australian “a champion in the best traditions”. Picture: Getty Images

"This year, we were aiming for top 10 and now to be where we are is a testament to all the people around me.

"It's the most incredible group who have been with me in these last three years.

"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's French Open victory two weeks ago lifted her from No 8 to No 2. As only the third player along with Sabine Lisicki and Ana Ivanovic to win Birmingham without dropping a set, she soared to No 1.

Barty, 23, will be presented with the Chris Evert WTA World No trophy, which features a silver "star-map" tennis ball representing the tennis universe.

All World No 1s, past and present, are depicted by a diamond in the sky, which represents each champion's mark on the sport.

 

Ash Barty said “to be mentioned in the same sentence” as Evonne Goolagong Cawley “is incredible”.
Ash Barty said “to be mentioned in the same sentence” as Evonne Goolagong Cawley “is incredible”.

 

Tyzzer, who has coached Barty since she returned to tennis from cricket, said the Queenslander deserved "every success that comes her way."

"Ash and I have been together from day one of her tennis comeback and I have loved every minute of our partnership - the successful moments, the challenges and everything in between," he said.

"Over the last three years, Ash has grown as a person and as a player.

"What has stayed constant is her genuine, humble and respectful nature.

"She is a truly impressive person and deserves every success that comes her way. I couldn't be prouder to be her coach."

Barty was ranked No 623 in 2016 following a two-year break from tennis to play professional cricket.

 

Ash Barty’s coach Craig Tyzzer said he “couldn’t be prouder” of his charge.
Ash Barty’s coach Craig Tyzzer said he “couldn’t be prouder” of his charge.

This year alone, she has claimed her maiden major at the French Open and now two WTA premier mandatory titles (Miami and Birmingham).

In doing so, she has lifted two of the five biggest titles on the calendar.

Birmingham is Barty's sixth singles titles, sitting alongside the 10 doubles trophies in her keeping.

Women's Tennis Association supremo Steve Simon said: "Ashleigh's journey has been truly remarkable, from breaking into the Top 100 only two years ago to now as a grand Slam champion and the latest to hold the prestigious Chris Evert WTA World No 1 Trophy.

"I am confident that we are witnessing a true champion in the making whose accomplishments are only beginning."



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