Meet Australian Ashleigh Barty — The #1 Female Tennis Player In The World Right Now

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Who Is Ashleigh Barty? New Details About The Australian #1 Female Tennis Player In The World

Over the years, we’ve seen the careers of great tennis stars blossom and unfold, especially the women. Billie Jean King, Steffi Graf, Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova — they’ve all given us something to talk about. But there’s one tennis player who is making a name for herself. 

Who is Ashleigh Barty? If you haven’t heard of her, it’s probably because she’s spent most of her career without ranking for the Women’s Tennis Association ... until now. Barty is now ranked number one in the world in singles by the WTA, becoming the second Australian woman in history to hold the rank!

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But what else do we know about this rising star who's already setting records at just 23 years old? Here are 8 things to know about her career and personal life.

1. She’s from Australia.

Growing up, Barty was raised by her father, who is of Ngarigo Ingigenous roots, and her mother, the daughter of English immigrants, making Barty bi-racial. She began playing tennis at a young age but before that, played netball, eventually deciding to switch to tennis.

At four years old, she began training with junior coach, Jim Joyce, but she also practiced at home. And by the time she was nine, she was practicing against boys who were a bit older than her. At 12, she was playing against male adults!

2. She had a junior career.

In 2009, when she was 13, Barty started playing at low-level events on the ITF Junior Circuit, winning her first title at the Grade 4 Australian International. She played in the Australian Open junior Grand Slam event in 2011, the Sarawak Chief Minister's Cup in Malaysia, the Belgian International Junior Championships, the 2011 French Open, and the junior Grand Slam at Wimbledon.

3. She then made the move to professional.

In 2010, when she was 14, she played at an International Tennis Federation event, and reached the semi-finals in her second professional tournament in Mount Gambier. She entered more $25K events, and made it to two quarter-finals. She was awarded a wildcard to qualify for the US Open, but lost the main draw. Barty competed in the 2012 Australian Open, winning all five of her matches.

In 2012, she made her singles and doubles draw debuts on the WTA Tour, played at the Brisbane International, the Hobart International, the French Open and Wimbledon, the Nottingham Challenge, and the Dunlop World Challenge.

Starting in 2013, she made the switch to doubles, partnering with Casey Dellacqua, and competing in WTA Tour-level events, the French Open, Australian Open, Internationaux de Strasbourg, Wimbledon, the US Open, the Birmingham Classic, and with Anastasia Rodionova, the Premier-level Charleston Open.

In 2017, she won her first WTA title, and her other experiences included the French Open, Birmingham Classic, the WTA finals, Sydney International, Nottingham Open, Canadian Open, and US Open.

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4. But she switched to cricket in 2014.

Barty decided to take a break from tennis. “It was too much too quickly for me as I’ve been travelling from quite a young age. I wanted to experience life as a normal teenaged girl and have some normal experiences. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and just enjoy it and hopefully score a few runs,” she said of the switch. She had no professional cricket experience at the time, only from playing with her family.

She began training with the Queensland Fire in 2015, playing for the Western Suburbs District Cricket Club. She signed with the Brisbane Heat for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) Twenty20 season. After the end of the season, she announced her return to tennis, playing in singles once again.

5. She’s now the number one female tennis player in the world (in singles).

Wimbledon, which just started on July 1st, includes many top players. But a week before, at the Birmingham Classic tournament, she defeated Germany’s Julia Goerges, and became the second Australian to have this feat. Evonne Goolagong Cawley held the rank 43 years ago.

“It’s been the most incredible journey for me and my team. You always dream about (being number one) as a little kid but for it to become a reality it’s incredible and not something that was even in my realm, we were aiming for top 10 this year. We started from scratch three and a half years ago without a ranking and now to be where we are is a massive achievement for me and my team,” she said after winning the tournament.

6. But all that success doesn’t come without loneliness.

As one might guess, Barty is away from her family quite often. But she doesn’t let it get her down, even though she’s 12,000 miles from home. 

“I would love to be home every single minute of every single day... The most important thing is all the people around me I trust. They are genuine, real human beings. So, besides the tennis, we have relationships off the court first and foremost, and then the tennis comes second. Every single member of my team is like family to me,” she revealed.

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7. She’s talked about the importance of mental health.

Now, that doesn’t mean Barty doesn’t have anxieties about playing, especially when dealing with defeat:

“It’s not just people in sport. Mental health is something that concerns everyone. It’s spoken about more often now, though, a sort of open topic. That’s positive. Everyone has different kinds of struggles... That was my hardest step, as well — coming out and actually talking about it. 

But I’ve learned to embrace [fame], to accept it and just to move on. I’m still trying to go about my work in a correct manner, doing all the right things. It’s impossible to please everyone. You have to trust in what you believe. I trust in my team, the people I have around me, and understand that there are going to be some amazing times and some tough times. But we’ll go through it together, and that’s the best way.”

8. She has a boyfriend.

Barty is dating Garry Kissick, a PGA Trainee Professional and member of the Liverpool Football Club. They’ve been together for two years, and he’s been there every step of the way, cheering his partner on!

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.