Ashleigh Barty is an Australian professional tennis player and former cricketer who has attained the WTA No.1 ranking. She is a Grand Slam champion in both singles and doubles, and has won multiple titles in her career.
Name: Ashleigh Barty
Born: April 24, 1996
Turned Pro: 2010
Ashleigh Barty was born in Ipswich, Australia and began playing tennis at the age of five when her parents introduced her to the sport. By the time she was nine, she was practicing against boys who were six years older. She began playing against male adults by the time she was 12, and soon began training at the National Tennis Academy. She reached a career-high ITF world junior ranking of No.2, being proficient at both singles and doubles. She won her first ITF junior title at age 13 and compiled a 24-2 record on the ITF junior circuit in 2010.
Barty made her WTA singles debut as a wildcard at the 2012 Hobart international, losing to Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the first round. She then made her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open, losing to Anna Tatishvili in the first round. She also received wildcards into the main draw of Roland Garros and Wimbledon, losing in the first round each time to Petra Kvitova and Roberta Vinci. However, she would win four singles and two doubles titles on the ITF Women’s circuit, entering the WTA Top 200 at the age of 16.
Barty would win her first WTA Tour-level match at the 2013 Malaysian Open, defeating Chanel Simmonds in the first round before eventually losing in the quarterfinals. Although she had only three WTA singles wins that year, she would be more successful in doubles. She partnered with compatriot Casey Dellacqua to reach three Grand Slam doubles finals (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open). She would also win her first WTA doubles title, teaming with Dellacqua to capture the trophy at the 2013 Birmingham Classic. The following year saw her win another doubles title with Dellacqua, the 2014 Internationaux de Strasbourg on clay. However, Barty had an abysmal singles season and announced that she would be taking a break from professional tennis after the 2014 US Open. Later, she would explain that she took the break because she had been travelling from a very young age and wanted to experience life as a normal teenaged girl.
During her hiatus, Barty developed an interest in playing cricket. She started training with Queensland Fire, her city’s cricket team and soon began playing for Western Suburbs District Cricket Club, a local competitive team. Her skill was so evident that she soon signed with the Brisbane Heat, a cricket team in the Women’s Big Bash League. She remained a regular member of the team and competed until the season ended in February 2016.
Barty announced her return to professional tennis in February 2016, initially competing in only doubles events on the ITF circuit. She eventually returned to the WTA Tour in May at the Nottingham Open, losing to Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.
During the 2017 season, Barty won her first WTA singles title at Kuala Lumpur. She also won the doubles event with Dellacqua, and saw her singles ranking climb into the Top 100. Barty would reach two additional finals that year, at Birmingham and Wuhan. She defeated World No.9 Venus Williams at the Cincinnati Open, claiming the first Top 10 win of her career. She also reached the third round of the 2017 US Open, losing to eventual champion Sloane Stephens. This performance saw her ranking rise to World No.37, and she finished the year at a career-high of No.17.
Barty would begin the 2018 season with a runner-up performance at Sydney, where she lost to Angelique Kerber. She would reach the third round of the Australian Open, losing to Naomi Osaka. The Australian faced another tough draw at the French Open, losing to Serena Williams in the second round. However, she would go on to win the Nottingham Open title, claiming her second WTA singles title. Following some strong performances during the summer hard court season, Barty would reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the US Open. Seeded 18th, she would lose to World No.8 Karolina Pliskova. This was enough for her to qualify for the year-ending WTA Elite Trophy, an event she would win after defeating China’s Wang Qiang in the final. She would finish the year at a career-high ranking of World No.15.
Barty would begin the 2019 season with another runner-up appearance at Sydney (l. to Kvitova), although she did score her first victory over a World No.1 by defeating Simona Halep in the second round. She made her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open, again losing to Kvitova. She would go on to win her maiden WTA Premier title at the Miami Open, breaking into the Top 10 in the process.
After a quarterfinal appearance at the Madrid Open, Barty would win her first Grand Slam singles title at the 2019 French Open. She defeated Czech Marketa Vondrousova in the final, dropping just four games. Following this victory, she would rise to World No.2 in the WTA rankings. After winning the Birmingham Classic, Barty would become the No.1 ranked player in the world. Her 15-match win streak would come to an end in the fourth round of Wimbledon, where she lost to American Alison Riske.
Barty would lose the No.1 world ranking to Naomi Osaka after a first round loss at the Canadian Open. She would regain it after a fourth round showing at the US Open, and go on to reach the semifinals at the Wuhan Open (l. to Sabalenka). After finishing runner-up at the China Open (l. to Osaka), she would make her debut at the season-ending WTA Finals as the top seed. She advanced through the group stage to reach the semifinals, where she defeated Pliskova. Facing Elina Svitolina in the final, Barty would triumph and finish the season as the year-end No.1. She was awarded the WTA Player of the year, becoming the first Australian to ever receive this honor.
Barty would finally win a title on her home soil at the 2020 Adelaide International, defeating Dayana Yastremska in the final. At the Australian Open, she would lose in the semifinals to eventual champion Sofia Kenin. She would make a semifinal appearance at the Qatar Open, before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Barty is also a doubles Grand Slam champion, winning the 2018 US Open ladies doubles event with Coco Vandeweghe. She reached a doubles career-high of No.5 in May 2018, and led Australia to the 2019 Fed Cup final (l. to France). She is the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia. Furthermore, she was honored as the Young Australian of the Year in 2020 and has been in a relationship with Australian golfer Garry Kissick since 2017.