New world No.1 Ashleigh Barty has dismissed comparisons with Evonne Goolagong Crawley and insists she’s a long way short of being as good as the Aussie tennis legend.
Barty became the first Australian woman to reach the top of the rankings since seven-times grand slam champion Goolagong Crawley reached the sport’s pinnacle for two weeks in 1976.
With just five defeats in almost eight months and a tour-topping 36 wins already this year, Barty’s accent to the top is nothing but deserved.
On Sunday, the 23-year-old added the Birmingham Classic to the French Open title she won earlier this month by beating Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-3 7-5 for her 11th successive victory.
— WTA (@WTA) June 23, 2019
Her success at the Edgbaston Priory Club saw Barty usurp Japan’s Naomi Osaka and she will now head to Wimbledon next week as the No.1 seed and with a huge chance of replicating Goolagong Crawley’s last Centre Court success in 1980.
However, the humble Queenslander said she still has a long way to go to be classed in the same bracket as the Australian tennis great.
“I’m nowhere near her status,” Barty said.
“To be mentioned in the same sentence is incredible.
“Evonne, she’s an amazing human being and has set the tone for so many Australians and so many indigenous Australians around our country and around the world.
“She is an amazing person. And what she has done in her career was incredible and what she continues to do off the court for us as a sport is amazing.
“To have her as a friend is amazing and I’m sure that I will be able to chat to her in the next few days.
Barty is enjoying a stunning run of form that has also saw her win the Miami Open in March with her last defeat coming on May 16 against Kristina Mladenovic at the Italian Open in Rome.
She maintains there has been nothing different in her approach but said hard work, perseverance and maintaining focus during points have been key to her rise.
“It’s just been the most amazing journey for myself and my team and we’ve got to this point by doing all the small things right,” Barty said.
“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.
— Ash Barty (@ashbar96) June 23, 2019
“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’s has been partnering world No.19 Goerges in the doubles this week and the pair have been close friends since being introduced by Casey Dellacqua.
The German posed a real threat to Barty in the second set when she led 3-0 only for the Queenslander demonstrate her iron resolve by hitting back to take out the match in just under 90 minutes.
“Jules has always made time for me ever since I started on tour and I think that relationship developed a bit through Casey,” she said.
“She introduced me to a lot of the really good girls on tour and that relationship’s grown, but Jules and her whole team have always made time for me.
“We have always enjoyed practising together and spending time with each other and as I said it’s hard playing a friend but in a final I think you’d love to play a friend knowing you have both earnt that spot.”