It’s 1.51 am Melbourne time and Ashleigh Barty has just made history — winning the French Open and bringing home the chocolates for Australia, 46 years after Margaret Court won the French Open Singles in 1973.
I cried when she won — in happiness. Not only for Ash and her parents but for our country. Finally, after many years — Australia has a humble and no-drama tennis star that is deserving of our adoration and support.
And it’s about bloody time, just ask Tennis Australia.
Like other mad tennis fans Down Under, I was 100 per cent behind Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrigos before their egos took over. I would scream at the TV in delight when they won, much to the annoyance of my housemates who have zero interest in Tennis.
But playing sport at an elite level is a privilege, not an entitlement. And being supported by fans is conditional not guaranteed. I used to love watching Lleyton ‘all heart’ Hewitt play. He was a fighter but he was also ‘grateful’ to be there. Gratitude is something that seems amiss now — if Tomic and Kyrigos are anything to go by.
It may be ‘exciting’ to see a psychologically dislodged player making an arse of themselves. But it’s even more exciting to watch a tennis player that goes about their business quietly and gets the job done.
Ash Barty got the job done today and to think only five years ago, Barty took a break from Tennis, after the 2014 US Open to play cricket and experience ‘normal’ teenage experiences. I just thank the gods that she decided to return to tennis otherwise today wouldn’t have happened.
At the end of Barty’s victory speech, she said:
“This is incredible, it’s been the most amazing journey we have been on in the last three years and I feel like this is just the start for us. Let’s go and celebrate tonight”.
Let’s celebrate indeed. A new champion has arrived. Bring on the Barty Party!
Vanessa de Large is a freelance journalist, sex columnist and public speaker that divides her time between London and Melbourne. You can find more of her work here.
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