Former tennis star Ash Barty performed at the highest level on the court and she is now set to start a new chapter of her life off it.
The 26-year-old announced the news of her pregnancy on Instagram by snapping a picture of her pet dog alongside a pair of baby shoes. The caption read: “Set to be the best year yet. We are so excited for our new adventure. Origi already the protective big sister.”
Her tennis colleagues took to the comments as mother and 2018 Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki said: “Yesss congratulations.” 2008 Wimbledon junior champion Laura Robson wrote: “Congratulations!!!! Baby Barty”, while Wimbledon, an event she won in 2021, posted: “Congratulations, champ.”
Barty, who once played cricket and competed in the Australian Big Bash League, was congratulated by the national team’s T20I captain Aaron Finch. “Congratulations to you both!! The best” the 36-year-old said, while wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey posted the love heart and raised hands emojis.
This time last year Barty was gearing up for the Australian Open, the tournament nobody knew would be her last. She went on to win the title without dropping a set, and by doing so became the first home player to win at Melbourne Park singles title since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
She also became the eighth female player to win a major on three different surfaces, joining Serena Williams as the only two active players at that point to have achieved that feat. Barty’s third and final major added to her previous two wins at 2019 Roland Garros and Wimbledon two years ago.
Earlier this week, Barty swung by the United Cup in Brisbane to say hello to her good friend Iga Swiatek, who picked up the No.1 torch after the Australian’s retirement and has not looked back. Barty will be present at this year’s Australian Open but in the form of a mentor to local hope Olivia Gadecki, who received a wildcard for the season’s first Grand Slam.
The world number 202 said at the United Cup in Sydney that Barty would be in her camp at Melbourne Park for the January 16-29 tournament.
“I’ve been really fortunate to always be able to contact her if I have any questions or if I need advice, she has always been there for me,” Gadecki told the Australian Associated Press.
“The best part is she just treats me like a normal person and we can relate in that regard and off court is just as important as on court.” The 20-year-old will begin her Australian Open preparations at the Hobart International event, set to commence next week. (Mirror)