It is only the second grand slam victory for the world number one.
Ash Barty remains very humble for someone who has been the top-ranked tennis player in the world for well over a year, but leading up to Wimbledon Barty struck a different tone. Barty was assertive in stating that it was her childhood dream to win at Wimbledon, and she believed that it was destined to happen.
Barty began the tournament as the favorite, but the road to her second grand slam title was not an easy one. Her final two opponents at Wimbledon were both former world No. 1. Angelique Kerber nearly dashed Barty’s dreams in their semifinal matchup. In the second set of the match, Kerber took a commanding 5-2 lead after losing the first set. Barty quickly turned the tables on Kerber and held on to win in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6.
Barty advanced to her first Wimbledon final, where she had the opportunity to become the second Australian woman to ever win the tournament, exactly fifty years after 19-year-old Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s miraculous first run to the title in 1971. No one was more aware of this fact than Ash Barty herself.
Goolagong Cawley had served as a mentor to Barty since she was 15 after she saw great potential in her. Their bond soon became bigger than tennis, as both women also have an indigenous background. Goolagong Cawley says she considers Barty family. Throughout the week Barty paid homage to her mentor by creating her own version of the scallop dress that Goolagong Cawley wore at Wimbledon fifty years prior.
Barty dawned her scallop skirt once again as she faced off against Karolina Plíšková in the Wimbledon Final. Early in the match Barty maintained the quiet determination that she had shown throughout the tournament. Plíšková, who was also playing in her first Wimbledon Final, seemed a bit overwhelmed in the first set. In the second set Plíšková showed off the skills that earned her the No. 1 ranking in 2017 as she pushed the match to a divisive third set. Barty was able to regroup and took a commanding 3-0 lead to begin the third set, a lead that proved insurmountable for Plíšková.
Barty achieved her dreams in London, and in her heartwarming post-match interview she said that her goal was just to make Evonne proud. Even though it was 1 a.m over 9,000 mile away in Australia, Goolagong Cawley was watching as Barty won the title, and she responded by expressing that she could not have been more proud of her “little sister.”
After becoming the second Australian woman to win at Wimbledon, Barty will go on to represent Australia in the Olympic games. Goolagong Cawley, among others, have expressed the importance of having a indigenous woman representing the country so well. Barty has the opportunity to become only the seventh tennis player to ever win at Wimbledon and the Olympics in the same calendar year.