Ashleigh Barty is first Australian woman to top tennis rankings in 43 years

Ashleigh Barty is first Australian woman to top tennis rankings in 43 years

Ashleigh Barty is an Australian professional tennis player and former cricketer. She is ranked No. 1 in the world in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and is the second Australian to hold this top ranking after Evonne Goolagong Cawley. She is also a top ten player in doubles, having achieved a career-high ranking of No. 5 in the world. Barty has won six singles titles and ten doubles titles on the WTA Tour, including one Grand Slam singles title at the 2019 French Open and one Grand Slam doubles title at the 2018 US Open with partner CoCo Vandeweghe.

Born in Ipswich in Queensland, Barty began playing tennis at the age of four in nearby Brisbane. She had a promising junior career, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 2 in the world after winning the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon in 2011. As a teenager, Barty had early success in doubles on the WTA Tour in 2013, finishing runner-up at three Grand Slam doubles events with veteran Casey Dellacqua, including at the Australian Open while still only 16 years old. Late in the 2014 season, Barty decided to take an indefinite break from tennis. She ended up playing cricket during this hiatus, signing with the Brisbane Heat for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League despite having no formal training in the sport.

Barty returned to tennis in early 2016 shortly before turning 20 years old. Although she won her first tournament back on the ITF circuit, her year was ultimately marred by an arm injury. In 2017, Barty had a breakout year in singles, winning her first WTA title at the Malaysian Open and rising to No. 17 in the world despite having never been ranked inside the top 100 before her time off. She also had another prolific year in doubles with Dellacqua, culminating in her first appearance at the WTA Finals. In the last two years, Barty has won the three biggest titles of her career in singles as well as her five biggest titles in doubles, including her first Grand Slam tournament titles and Premier Mandatory titles in both disciplines. In 2018, Barty was named National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador by Tennis Australia.

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