Ashleigh Barty Continues Mentoring with Wimbledon Win


WIMBLEDON, England – Long before Ashleigh Barty became a Wimbledon champion, Evonne Goolagong Cawley believed Barty could become a Wimbledon champion.

“I think it’s possible for him,” Goolagong said in an interview in Australia in 2017. “He has a game that can give a lot of players a hard time.”

At this stage Barty was still out of the top 10 and was still trying to come back after a 17-month hiatus from tennis to cricket. But Goolagong Cawley, who won the Wimbledon singles title in 1971 and 1980, spoke from the heart and from his experiences.

Barty isn’t just a talent. He is truly a humble person: realistic in a nation that still sees and values ​​itself as this. Goolagong Cawley, like many Australians, finds him sympathetic, but his connections are deeper – text messages, phone calls, face-to-face conversations, mentoring.

Australia has no shortage of former tennis stars. The sunburn nation has been one of the dominant forces in sports since the early 20th century, producing talent such as Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe and Margaret Court.

However, Goolagong Cawley, an Indigenous Australian with elegant gameplay, is the former champion whose story appeals most strongly to Barty. His father, Robert Ngarigo peopleand Barty embraced this legacy and Goolagong Cawley’s longstanding project to bring tennis and inspiration to Indigenous youth.

On Saturday, Barty crossed paths again as he won the Wimbledon singles title on the same lawn that Goolagong Cawley first won 50 years ago.

“They are connected through culture and Ash’s win ties the generations together,” said Billie Jean King, who lost to Goolagong Cawley in the semi-finals in 1971 and was at the Royal Box on Saturday. “The fulfillment of Ashleigh’s dream was wonderful and honoring Evonne’s legacy was very special.”

Managed by Barty Keeping Karolina Pliskova away 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 an important win in the final hip injury this knocked him out from last month’s French Open and prevented him from playing in any grass-court competition before Wimbledon. He said his team didn’t say how long he had any chance of a speedy recovery.

“They held a lot of cards close to their chests,” he said. “There weren’t many radiologists in Australia who saw my wound. It was a two-month injury in a way, being able to play here at Wimbledon was nothing short of a miracle.”

After missing almost the entire 2020 season due to the pandemic, he’s back with full determination and proving to be a true #1. Win the French Open in 2019.

Goolagong Cawley also finished first in red clay in Paris before winning at Wimbledon a few weeks later in 1971. Acknowledging the full circle of his achievements, Barty was devastated on the field when asked about his mentor. But when I asked him about Goolagong Cawley that afternoon, his voice was strong and clear.

“Evonne is a very special person in my life,” Barty said. “I think it’s iconic in paving the way for local youth to believe in and follow their dreams. It did exactly that for me as well. It is truly incredible to be able to share that with him and now share some special victories with him, to create my own path.”

Their games have little in common. Women’s tennis has changed dramatically in 50 years, adding strength and pace, and becoming a game of fundamentals, even on turf.

Goolagong Cawley, like most of his generation, regularly served and volleyed even on second serves. Despite having some of the best volleys of the round, Barty has not served and volleyed once at Wimbledon this year. Goolagong Cawley’s feet were very light, but his footwork was slow compared to Barty’s explosive action and ability to run around his backstroke to snatch an open stance forehand with heavy topspin. Although Barty did the backhand hit with both hands, both he and his role model relied heavily on a one-handed slice backhand.

It was a shot that was crucial in Goolagong Cawley’s era when tennis was primarily played on low-jump grass courts, and Barty has proven to be a great weapon on any surface.

6ft-2 Pliskova spent most of the game bending lower than she’d want to mess with the shot, but she did make one match. Barty kicked off the finals at full throttle, scoring the first 14 points and opening four games, as Pliskova struggled to keep her feet moving and swinging freely. He admitted to returning to his 6-0, 6-0 defeat against Iga Swiatek in this year’s Italian Open final.

Pliskova was not alone with such thoughts. When a grand finale starts off so unevenly, a special edition brand is formed, there is pressure for fans and viewers who watch with their own high expectations to seize the opportunity.

“I was thinking about the finale in Rome,” Pliskova said. I thought, “No, this is not possible, this cannot happen again.”

It didn’t, which ultimately softened the blow for a woman who went on to become the most successful active player without a Grand Slam title.

She cried at the award ceremony, which is rare for Pliskova, who prefers to hide her post-match tears for her dressing room or hotel room. But the disappointment would certainly have been greater had he not recovered from that shaky start.

Unable to serve the match in the second set, Barty understands the difficulties of mental play very well. After winning the girls’ title at age 15, she failed to make it past the fourth round in her first four games at Wimbledon. His potential was evident on the grass. The results were disappointing.

However, with defending champion Simona Halep withdrawing from the tournament with a calf injury, Barty was given the honor to be given to Aleppo and played her first women’s singles match on Center Court.

Call it forewarning, like its connection to Goolagong Cawley.

“I think if I could be half as Evonne I would be a very, very happy person,” Barty said.

Forty-one years after Goolagong Cawley’s last win there, there is another Wimbledon women’s singles champion in Australia, and as Barty it felt like nothing more than a coincidence. played with an inspired outfit by what the pioneer wore in his first championship run at the All England Club.

This was the tournament Goolagong Cawley cared most about winning, which the Australians spoke of with special respect for their layered history with England. But this was the tournament that Barty, a symbol of a more multicultural Australia, also dreamed of when he closed his eyes and let his imagination run.

“There’s a very rich history here for Australians,” Barty said. “For tennis players around the world, I think Wimbledon is the birthplace of tennis. This is where it all began. This is where so many hopes and dreams were born.”

Barty, holding the singles trophy and struggling to keep his cool, marched to the clubhouse after his victory. First he joked with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Duke observed that he did not look angry.

“Oh no, I did!” said Barty.

Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova were waiting nearby. King punched him. Navratilova gave him a message.

“Evonne is so proud,” he said, holding both thumbs up.


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