Ashleigh Barty brings the good times back for Australian tennis

The 25-year-old ended the country’s long wait for a home singles success.

Eleanor Crooks
Saturday 29 January 2022 11:24
Ashleigh Barty, right, receives the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup from Evonne Goolagong Cawley (Hamish Blair/AP)
Ashleigh Barty, right, receives the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup from Evonne Goolagong Cawley (Hamish Blair/AP)

Ashleigh Barty’s Australian Open victory has not only made her the first home singles champion for 44 years, but also the most successful Australian singles player in four decades.

Barty defeated American Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (2) to emulate Chris O’Neil, who won her only grand slam title in Melbourne in 1978.

It was Barty’s third slam title from her third final having also won the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon last summer.

For a country that dominated tennis for much of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, recent decades have seen a dearth of success.

Before Barty, Sam Stosur at the US Open in 2011 was the only Australian woman to win a slam singles title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley claimed the last of her seven trophies at Wimbledon in 1980.

And Barty is the first Australian man or woman since her mentor Goolagong Cawley, who fittingly presented the trophy to her on Saturday, to win more than two slam singles titles.

Both Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter managed two titles, with Hewitt winning the US Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002 while Rafter won back-to-back titles in New York in 1997 and 1998.

Lleyton Hewitt won his second grand slam title at Wimbledon 20 years ago (Nick Potts/PA)

Before that, Pat Cash’s memorable Wimbledon victory in 1987 was the only Australian singles triumph for a man since Mark Edmondson’s home title in 1976.

Cawley’s tally of seven looks a realistic target for Barty, who has established herself as a clear world number one and is at home on all surfaces.

Should the 25-year-old win the US Open, she would join Serena Williams as the only active female player to have completed the career Grand Slam.

Barty would also become only the second Australian woman to achieve the feat after Margaret Court, who holds the overall record with 24 singles titles.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in