Tennis royalty and an Australian Olympic legend have led the tributes to Ash Barty after she made history by winning her first Wimbledon championship on Sunday morning.
Barty sliced expertly, defended desperately and shone brightly on her way to the victory over Karolina Pliskova, her second career grand slam title (after the French Open in 2019). She is the first Australian woman to win the famous grass title since her mentor and fellow Indigenous woman, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, in 1980.
Ash Barty soaks in her win at Wimbledon.Credit:Getty Images
Cathy Freeman, whose 400m Sydney Olympic gold medal was a similarly seismic moment for Indigenous Australians, shared her pride and congratulations.
“Massive pride in our girl!” Freeman wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations @ashbarty! We are all so very proud of you.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined Freeman in congratulating Barty on her achievement.
“Magnificent. Inspirational. Congratulations @ashbarty! A great Australian champion. Australia is bursting with pride. A generational achievement,” he wrote on Twitter.
There were also tributes from tennis royalty Rod Laver and Billie Jean King.
“So happy for you @ashbarty, your dream comes true and what a fight,” the 11-time grand slam winner Laver wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations on your Wimbledon victory, I hope you and your team celebrate well along with your many fans around the world and back in Australia.
“What a wonderful follow up to Evonne’s win on the 50th anniversary.”
King said: “What a great match. It didn’t start out wonderful at all. I thought ‘oh no we’re going to have one of the shortest matches ever’.
“Wouldn’t you know it, it ended up being one of the best finals we’ve had. The first time in nine years we had a three-setter.
“Congratulations to Barty … a dream came true today.
“A great day for Australia, a great day for all of us in our sport of tennis.”
Australia’s 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash also praised Barty, after his contemporary emulated his climb into the player’s box post win.
“What a special moment. This is the moment that makes it all worthwhile, it really is,” he told BBC Radio.
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