Tennis golden girl Ash Barty might have suffered a shock recent Olympic loss, but the world No 1 continues to prove she’s all class after winning Wimbledon only two weeks ago.
To the surprise of many, Barty came crashing down in the first round of the Olympics singles on July 25, losing in straight sets to world number 48 Sara Sarribes Tormo.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the player, who only a couple of weeks ago was riding high after attaining tennis royalty status, becoming the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong Cawley more than four decades prior.
But just as she is in victory, Barty proved she is all class in defeat, noting she was too loose and too erratic in an Olympic loss that she described as disappointing.
It might not be the Olympic result she was hoping for but does little to take the gloss off what was a monumental recent win at the world’s oldest tennis tournament.
And it was here Barty again indicated what a class act she is, displaying humility, resilience and calm to attain a tennis title that had been her childhood dream.
When Barty was handed the Venus Rosewater Dish at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10 she joined a prestigious group of Australian women to win more than one major title outside the Australian Open.
Her name now ranks alongside tennis greats Margaret Court, Lesley Turner Bowrey and Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
And it’s the latter which is of the greatest significance.
Barty became the first Australia women’s Wimbledon champion since fellow indigenous tennis star Goolagong Cawley took out the title 41 years ago.
She also achieved the win on the 50th anniversary of Goolagong Cawley’s first Wimbledon title and did so as a proud Ngaragu woman during NAIDOC Week.
The significance of all of the above was not lost on a clearly emotional Barty, who noted it had taken her a “long time” to verbalise her dream of winning Wimbledon.
“Being able to live out my dream with everyone here has made it better than I ever could have imagined,” she reflected.
Referencing her mentor Goolagong-Cawley, Barty reaffirmed how much the tennis great meant to her and said she hoped she had “made Evonne proud”.
In typical Barty fashion, she was also keen to pay tribute to both her team and her family, noting their continued support had allowed her to attain such incredible success.
And back in Australia her family was up in the early hours of the morning, cheering the 25-year-old Queenslander on.
Half a world away they celebrated the achievement, but more importantly the person she had become.
“She’s such a lovely girl, she’s a wonderful human being…I’m so proud of her,” her father explained, with her mother adding “I’m just so proud of how she treats everybody, and she’s still the same person regardless of the tennis. She’s just amazing.”
And as for her mentor’s response, well that said it all…
"I am just so very much proud of Ash, the way she handles herself, not just on the court, but off the court too," Ms Goolagong Cawley said.