Born In: Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Australian former tennis player and cricketer Ashleigh Barty was a WTA world number 1 in singles and is the second Australian to achieve the feat. While she started gaining attention in the junior tennis circuit in her teens, winning the Wimbledon junior title in 2011, she later won the 2018 US Open doubles and multiple singles Grand Slams, namely, the 2019 French Open, the 2021 Wimbledon, and the 2022 Australian Open. She was the first Australian to earn an Australian Open singles title in over 4 decades. From 2014 to early 2016, she took a brief hiatus from tennis and started playing semi-professional cricket, only to return to tennis later. She retired as a world number 1 in singles in March 2022 and took to writing children’s books. She is also Tennis Australia’s National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador.
Also Known As: Ashleigh Jacinta Barty
Spouse/Ex-: Garry Kissick
father: Robert Barty
siblings: Ali, Sara
Born Country: Australia
Ashleigh Jacinta Barty, better known as Ashleigh Barty, was born on April 24, 1996, in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia, to Josie and Robert Barty. While her mother was born to English immigrants in Australia, her father belonged to the Ngaragu Aboriginal community.
Barty’s father was a Queensland and Australian representative in golf in the town of Bowen and later took up a job at the State Library of Queensland. Her mother was initially a state representative for Queensland in golf and later worked as a radiographer.
Barty was raised in Springfield, a suburb of Ipswich, Queensland, along with her elder sisters, Sara and Ali. She attended the Woodcrest State College.
As a child, Barty also played netball but later switched to tennis because her sisters were better at netball than her. She was apparently 4 years old when she began playing tennis.
By her early teens, Ashleigh Barty had started playing in the International Tennis Federation junior circuit. Barty won the 2011 Wimbledon junior title and attained a global ranking of 2 in junior tennis.
In 2013, after graduating to the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, she made it to the doubles finals at multiple Grand Slams, becoming the runners-up with partner Casey Dellacqua at the Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
However, Barty surprised everyone when she took a brief hiatus from tennis in 2014, to focus on semi-professional cricket. She returned to tennis in 2016 and won the Malaysian Open in 2017, earning her first WTA singles title. She finished the season with a global rank of 17.
In 2018, Barty made it to the fourth round of the singles competition at the US Open. She later won the doubles title at the US Open that year, with partner CoCo Vandeweghe.
In May 2019, Barty stepped into the French Open as the eighth seed of the tournament. She moved on to the finals after her 3-set match against US tennis player Amanda Anisimova in the semi-finals.
In the final, Barty defeated Czech player Markéta Vondroušová in straight sets and scripted history as the first Australian female tennis player since Margaret Court in 1973 to win the French Open. Two weeks later, Barty recorded another win, at England’s Birmingham Classic.
Following this, she moved to the top of the WTA singles global rankings and became the second Australian tennis player to achieve the feat. In December 2019, she was named the WTA Player of the Year.
In 2020, she cited possible health hazards of playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic and decided not to defend her French Open title. However, owing to her performances in other tournaments in 2020, she managed to retain her world number 1 ranking at the end of the season.
She made it to the Wimbledon finals in July 2021 and defeated Czech player Karolína Plíšková in 3 sets. With this, she again made history, as the first Australian female player, since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980, to win the Wimbledon singles title.
In the postponed 2020 Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan, Barty represented Australia but was eliminated in round 1 of the singles tournament. However, she, along with partner John Peers, managed to win the bronze in mixed doubles.
Barty stepped into the Australian Open as the top-seed in women’s singles in January 2022. She not only won every set she played but also defeated American player Danielle Collins in the finals, thus becoming the first Australian player to earn an Australian Open singles title in 44 years.
She surprised her fans and cohorts with her sudden declaration on retirement from tennis in March 2022. With this, she also became the first female tennis player to retire while still holding the top global singles ranking, since Belgian player Justine Henin did the same in 2008.
Barty was named the Female Sportsperson of the Year at the National Dreamtime Awards in 2017 and 2018. In 2020, she was awarded the Young Australian of the Year honor.
Barty also received the Officer of the Order of Australia, the highest honor in Australia, for her contribution to tennis, in June 2022. Barty was named Tennis Australia’s National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador, too. In her capacity, she is expected to encourage Indigenous participation in tennis.
At age 18, Barty suddenly decided to take a break from tennis and started focusing on cricket instead. Thus, from September 2014 to February 2016, she stayed away from tennis. She played semi-professional cricket in the second half of this period.
Though she was not completely out of practice and would often coach other tennis players, during her hiatus, she later stated that she needed a mental break and wished to refresh herself, as she was not enjoying tennis at that time. She was soon invited to train with the national women’s cricket team of Australia.
She began her cricket career with the Brisbane-based Western Suburbs District Cricket Club and scored an impressive 63 not out from 60 balls in her second match for the club. This helped her earn a contract with the Brisbane Heat club for the 2015-16 season.
She played in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL)’s first Twenty20 match and scored 39 from 27 balls, playing alongside major Heat players such as Jess Jonassen and Beth Mooney. She played in 9 of their 14 games in the season.
Barty later played in two 50-over games in the Women's National Cricket League (WNCL), representing Queensland, and helped her team win their local competition. She was a top-scorer in the final and averaged 46.60 in the season, apart from scoring a century. In-spite of her short but successful stint in cricket, Barty returned to tennis soon.
After retiring from tennis, Barty has focused on writing. The year she retired, she published her autobiography, My Dream Time: A Memoir of Tennis & Teamwork. She also collaborated with writer Jasmin McGaughey and illustrator Jade Goodwin on the illustrated children’s book series called the Little Ash series.
Barty began dating Australian professional golfer Garry Kissick in 2017. In November 2021, the couple announced their engagement.
A leisure golfer, Barty had met Kissick at the Brookwater Golf Club in 2016. She also won the golf championship at the same venue in September 2020. Barty and Kissick married on July 23, 2022.
In January 2023, Barty declared on Instagram that she was expecting her first child with Kissick. A keen sports lover, Barty supports Manchester United in the English Premier League and the Richmond Football Club in the Australian Football League. While on a 2-year hiatus from tennis (2014-2016), she not only focused on cricket but also spent time pursuing her hobbies, such as fishing, and built a house close to her family.
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