#BartyParty unites the nation
The #BartyParty united the nation as 2 million Australians gathered around their televisions and devices to watch Ash Barty’s famous victory at Wimbledon. To celebrate 50 years since her Aboriginal hero Evonne Goolagong first won Wimbledon, Ash paid tribute by wearing the same outfit and said prior to the final: “I couldn’t be more proud…to give myself the chance to create some history as a tribute to her.”
Barty was the first Aussie woman to reach the Wimbledon final since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.
She is a proud Ngarigu woman and like a lot of Aboriginal sportspeople, her extended family is her bedrock of support. She has spoken often about the pain of separation, particularly during Covid: “Every day I genuinely miss my family and miss being able to share this with them.”
Her favourite post match question comes down the phone line from her four year old niece Lucy who asks: “‘Did you win at the tennis, Aunty Ash?’
“That’s what makes me smile,” says Ash. “The fact I get to speak to them and tell them about my day, which is no different to anyone else.”
“Each and every day I ask how their day was and they ask me how my day was – and I think being able to keep that really normal is one of the best parts of my day.”
Barty is famous for her calm, level headed attitude to life – a perfect antidote to the high stress global tennis circuit: “It’s about understanding that you don’t get to play tennis forever, you don’t get these opportunities every single day and genuinely having that childlike, carefree kind of playfulness is really important.”
Australia’s Federation Cup captain Alicia Molik gives some context to Ash’s grounded personality: “When Ash goes back to Brisbane she is happy to practice with lower ranked girls. That knocks on very quickly, you get that confidence and sense of belonging from playing people at at a higher level.”
There is another ingredient to pull in the wider public, says Molik. “Australians love fighters. Australians like to feel they know the person. Ash is the girl next door, she is approachable.”
And whilst she moves from city to city across the world, she always remains in the present: “Even though I’m extremely professional and serious and driven and impassioned about my career, it’s also important to back off sometimes and just enjoy it and try to smell the roses on the way and take it all in.”
“It’s not all about the destination. It’s all of the nuances, the silly nuances, the memories that come from the journey which are what make it so special. Being able to appreciate those every day is massively important.”
What a wonderful ambassador for her family, culture and country.
Image source: Twitter danredford70
Image source: Andrew Watson Ash Barty and Evonne Goolagong Cawley.