New top dog Barty plays down
Goolagong Cawley comparisons
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[June 24, 2019]
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Ashleigh
Barty is honored to become Australia's first women's world number
one since Evonne Goolagong Cawley but feels she has a lot more to do
to be worthy of comparison with the indigenous great.
The 23-year-old Queenslander was crowned the new number one on
Monday a day after beating Germany's Julia Goerges 6-3 7-5 in the
final of the Birmingham Classic on Sunday.
The achievement has capped a remarkable run for Barty, who claimed
her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros two weeks ago.
Goolagong Cawley scaled the peak of the world rankings in 1976
although it only came to light 31 years later after the discovery of
an error in the records.
Like Goolagong, Barty is proud of her indigenous Australian
heritage, with her father having Ngarigo ancestry through one of his
"I'm nowhere near her status," Barty, said of the seven-times Grand
Slam champion. "To be mentioned in the same sentence is incredible.
"Evonne, she's an amazing human being and has set the tone for so
many Australians and so many indigenous Australians around our
country and around the world.
"She is an amazing person. And what she has done in her career was
incredible and what she continues to do off the court for us as a
sport is amazing."
Goolagong Cawley was quick to congratulate Barty, whose achievement
comes three years after she returned to the tour in 2016 following
an indefinite break from the game.
"Ash is a very worthy number one and winning at the French will have
given her even more confidence," Goolagong Cawley said in a
statement on Monday.
"I am so proud that another Aboriginal player sits on top of the
rankings in women's tennis, particularly a young lady who conveys
such happiness in all she does.
"She really enjoys being out there and she has become an outstanding
and inspirational example to all Australians. Well done Ash - long
may your success continue."
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Australia's Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning the final against
Germany's Julia Goerges Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine/File
Barty's number one status triggered a flood of other tributes in
mainstream and social media for a player who transformed herself
into a professional cricketer during her time away from tennis.
"A big Congratulations to @ashbar96," American 18-times Grand Slam
champion Chris Evert wrote on Twitter.
"Tremendous story, talent, and most importantly, person."
Australian Hollywood actor Russell Crowe tweeted: "Ash Barty. #1.
American women's great Billie Jean King also praised the crafty
Australian all-court player.
"With incredible versatility, perseverance, and focus, Ash Barty is
an inspiration to the next generation of young players in Australia.
Barty will head to Eastbourne on Monday for a last warmup before her
bid to claim a maiden Wimbledon title.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)
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