Wimbledon 2021: 'Massive pride in our girl', Australians celebrate Ashleigh Barty's historic title win

·4-min read

Sydney: Evonne Goolagong Cawley Sunday said she couldn't be more proud of "little sister" Ashleigh Barty after the Australian won Wimbledon exactly 50 years after her indigenous compatriot achieved the feat.

The 25-year-old clinched her maiden crown at the All England Club by beating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 on Saturday, adding to the French Open title she won in 2019.

Her victory came a half-century after her "friend and mentor" first triumphed on the grass courts.

Barty wore a dress inspired by the one Cawley sported in the 1971 final, and the 69-year-old was overcome with emotion watching her win.

"I'm just so very proud of Ash, the way she handles herself not just on the court but off the court too," said seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Cawley, who won Wimbledon a second time in 1980.

"Ash to me is like a little sister and part of my family. I think we treat each other that way.

"I was just so chuffed when she wore that dress ... wasn't that lovely. I said to her 'if it brings you luck, great, because it bought me luck'. She's amazing."

Barty spoke with Cawley prior to The Championships and said she was a role model to her.

"I think she has been iconic in paving a way for young indigenous youth to believe in their dreams and to chase their dream," said the world number one, who has Aboriginal heritage on her father's side, after winning.

"She's done exactly that for me as well. Her legacy off the court is incredible."

Cawley said one of the last messages she sent Barty was "dreams do come true, they came true for me".

"All the way through (the final) I sort of had this feeling that she was going to win, this is her time. Somebody up there is looking down on her."

Massive pride

Barty's parents Josie and Rob watched their daughter lift the trophy from Australia and said they were ecstatic.

"I'm just proud of the way she treats everybody, she's still the same person regardless of the tennis," said her mum.

"Just really excited and so happy she has done it this year too, it's such a lovely year to do it with Evonne's anniversary."

Fellow indigenous athlete Cathy Freeman and Australian tennis great Rod Laver also paid tribute to Barty, hailing her as inspirational.

"Congratulations @ashbarty! We are all so very proud of you."

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Laver, the only player to win all four majors in the same season twice, noted it was "a wonderful follow up to Evonne's win on the 50th anniversary". "So happy for you @ashbarty, your dream comes true and what a fight. Congratulations on your Wimbledon victory," he added.

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Barty, who has Aboriginal heritage on her father's side, will now head to Tokyo for a crack at Olympic gold, where she will be hot favourite, before turning her attention to the US Open.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also paid tribute, calling her triumph "magnificent".

"Inspirational. Congratulations @ashbarty! A great Australian champion. Australia is bursting with pride. A generational achievement," he said.

Even Australian pop royalty Kylie Minogue got in on in the act, simply tweeting: "ASSSSSSSSHHHHBAAAARRRTYYYYYYYY!!!"

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Australian media called the down-to-earth Barty a "masterful performer" with the tabloid Sydney Daily Telegraph gushing that "the legacy Ash is creating is truly special". "Olympic gold and a third slam title is more than achievable in the coming months," it added. "But Ash must also ensure she takes the time to look after herself and her team." The Australian broadsheet was equally effusive in its praise.

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"Ash Barty dared to dream and had the courage and conviction to deliver a famous triumph on the biggest stage in tennis," it said.

"The most worthy of winners. A player universally respected and adored nationwide for her brilliance and sportsmanship."

Also See: Wimbledon 2021: Evonne Goolagong Cawley hails 'little sister' Ashleigh Barty after maiden title at SW19

Wimbledon 2021: Three things on women's singles finalist Karolina Pliskova

Wimbledon 2021: Three things on women's singles finalist Ashleigh Barty

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