Fresh off the heels of her French Open victory earlier this month, Aussie tennis star Ash Barty has now officially claimed the women’s world No. 1 ranking on Monday, overthrowing Japan’s Naomi Osaka with a tournament win at the Birmingham Classic in England.
It’s the first time an Australian woman has held the top spot since seven-time Grand Slam champion Goolagong Cawley in 1976.
While the humble 23-year-old told reporters after the Birmingham Classic, “I’m nowhere near her status…to be mentioned in the same sentence is incredible.”
Barty has had a stellar start to 2019, recording an impressive 36 match victories and only six defeats.
Her straight sets 6-3, 7-5 win over Germany’s Julia Goerge in the Birmingham Classic now puts Barty’s on a 12-match win streak.
“You always dream of it as a little kid, but for it to become a reality is incredible, it really is,” Barty said.
“It’s been the most incredible journey for myself and my team. To have this become a reality… I didn’t think that was in my realm this year.”
“We started from scratch without a ranking and now to be where we are, not only for me, is a massive, massive achievement for them.”
Although it has been an spectacular start to her young career, it wasn’t so long ago when Barty gave up on tennis all together.
Back in 2014, the Queensland State native took time away from the sport to play cricket for the Brisbane Heat.
Struggling to deal with the intense pressure and touring schedule of international tennis, Barty said she was burnt out and wanted “to live a normal life”.
But by 2016, tenacious competitor rejoined the WTA tour with a ranking of 623 determined to make her way to the top.
“It’s certainly just been the most amazing month of tennis for us and really an amazing three years.”
“I have to trust myself and trust that I can execute on those big points, and not just when I’m set point down but also on those crucial 30-all, 15-30 points,” Barty said.
“There’s no point that means anything more than the next one, they all have the same value, so it is about trying to execute as best as I can on that point and if it’s at 15-love, or set-point down, it doesn’t change for me.”
Barty will now head into next week’s Wimbledon Grand Slam as the tournament’s No 1 seed.