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Australian Tennis Star Ashleigh Barty Ends Her Australian Open drought with Championship Win

By: Thomas Cluck

With the weight of a nation on her shoulders, the world’s number one player Ashleigh Barty showed the world more of herself than she ever has. In quite possibly her greatest two weeks of tennis ever, Barty, the Australian sporting legend, finally ended the countries long wait for a home grown Australian Open champion, winning the trophy that meant the most to her over all these years. 

With that accomplishment, one that had been so long in the making for Barty, formerly a French Open and Wimbledon champion in 2019 and 2021, respectively, Barty showed more of herself in her exuberant, elated emotion than she ever has to the world, truly cementing her place as not just a great tennis player, but one of the legends of the game.

Barty, now a three-time major champion, didn’t drop a single set over seven matches in Melbourne on the way to the title, only being pushed past 6-4 even once only in the final set she played of the fortnight, her second set against American Danielle Collins, whom she defeated 6-3, 7-6 in just under 90 minutes, by far her longest of her championship run here.

Utilizing every aspect of her signature, unique game to perfect aplomb this tournament in a way she quite never has, Barty dominated on serve with her kick serve while beguiling opponents with her mixes of spins and paces and her trademark slice and net skills. 

The win on Saturday night on Rod Laver Arena cemented Barty’s place firmly atop women’s tennis and dominant over the rest of the WTA, the unequivocal, unquestioned number one player in the world after years of skepticism over her sustainability at the top of the sport. 

While other players are flashier, have bigger serves or more powerful groundstrokes, Barty is the sole player in women’s tennis with consistent, week-to-week staying power at the very top of the sport. On Monday, when the new WTA rankings come out, Barty’s lead over number two Aryna Sabalenka will extend to over 2,500 points, a staggering number exemplifying the Australian’s true dominance and consistency in relation to the rest of the women’s game.

Barty’s opponent in the final, feisty Danielle Collins, gave the home crowd favorite all she could handle for patches of the match, a much tougher and tense match than the fairly routine scoreline suggested. Collins, a former college tennis player at Florida and then Virginia where she won two NCAA Tennis National Championships, will rise to a career high number ten in the world, her top ten debut, on Monday.

The scorelines from all seven of Barty’s matches may indicate a run free from challenges or obstacles but the pressure and weight of expectations she’s been under a weight she has succumbed to in previous years at Melbourne Park despite being clearly the best player then too is maybe Barty’s greatest accomplishment in all her tennis career. It’s surely the most meaningful.

Editors Note • Her trophy was presented to her by the amazing Evonne Goolagong Cawley. A great champion herself and living legend and funny enough. Both players were sponsored by the beautiful clothing designed by FILA. And both were signed into the clothes and contracts by the keen talent scout Aussie Martin “Marty” Mulligan. That man is a legend for choosing talent. 

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