Ashleigh Barty congratulated by Evonne Goolagong Cawley after French Open win

Johanna Konta

But how can a player who is only 23 be called slow? She's got the all-round game.

Garry Kissick, who Barty has been dating for almost two years, posted a picture of the champ after her victory over Markéta Vondrousova and maiden grand slam win. She did not play another Grand Slam singles main-draw tie until 2017, and only reached the second week of a major for the first time at least year's US Open.

She went on to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Hall of Fame, but then lost all contact with the sport once she retired, and stopped watching the game altogether.

The tennis champ shared the encouraging text message she received from Goolagong Cawley more recently. And then I think she said, 'I'm in a new world. "Wow, she's won it".

Ash Barty's partner has posted a touching tribute on Instagram after the Queenslander lifted the French Open trophy last night.

In 2019, she won her first singles Grand Slam title, beating teenager Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

There was no doubt that the soon-to-be world No 2 always had it in her. "Regardless of whether it's a Slam, a big tournament, Fed Cup, all of these different occasions I've been thrown into, I feel like we've been able to deal with it really well and, in a way, bring it back to the way I want to play and just simplify it".

The Australian has one of the most versatile game styles on tour.

At that point, she was a teenage phenom.

"She's not over-playing, so she's getting to tournaments ready to play and she knows she can win. Standing at 5' 5", her court coverage on return is swift and sure. She's forehand dominant but she's improved her two-handed backhand out of sight.

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All traceable, in some way, to her time away from the sport.

"And more importantly, the way she's gone about it". It has made a huge difference to her mentality, an aspect she has never been shy to discuss.

Barty served up 38 aces over the course of the tournament and showed just why her serve is the best part of her game. She was a junior Wimbledon champion at 15 and a Grand Slam doubles finalist at 16. All she had to do was fire on all cylinders at once, and that she did, schooling Vondrousova in a 70-minute, 6-1, 6-3 win that was as straightforward as the men's semifinal won by Dominic Thiem was drawn out and theatrical. I was just living life like a normal 18, 19-year-old girl would.

"If you're looking to hit her off the court, she's got weaponry on both sides". Andrea Petkovic and Keys were nearly happy to get "their ass beaten", Vondrousva called it a tennis lesson. Those were less effective against Barty, who read her opponent's intent and was on the move to the net before Vondrousova contacted the ball.

Barty, a Wimbledon junior victor, wasn't very fond of the surface. She loves grass but I think a lot of Australians have had good results on clay. Last year, she had actually said "Every week on clay is a week closer to grass".

But in yet another testament of her versatility, she reached the quarterfinals in Madrid, won the Rome doubles title with Victoria Azarenka after a disappointing singles loss before a right arm injury kept her out of Strasbourg.

Little wonder Barty was preferring to enjoy the moment after becoming Australia's first champion in Paris since Court 46 years ago, rather than making any bold Wimbledon predictions.

With the first, and perhaps toughest barrier crossed, can she keep the momentum heading onto her favourite surface?

The teen, less experienced than Barty on the Grand Slam stage perhaps, just did not seem to find her footing early on.


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