Olivia Gadecki has revealed Ash Barty sent her a congratulatory text message after her stunning win at the Australian Open on Monday. Gadecki, who is being mentored by Barty, beat Polina Kudermetova 7-5 6-1 in her debut at grand slam level.
The 20-year-old has been working with fellow Queenslander Barty for some years and recently revealed that the retired Aussie champion would be in her camp during the tournament Melbourne Park. Speaking after her win on Monday, Gadecki said Barty had texted her to say congratulations.
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"She (Barty) sent me a text after my match, which really meant a lot," Gadecki said. "I'm sure everyone kind of knows she's always been in my corner, and I'm so lucky to have her. Whenever I need advice or anything, I'm always able to contact her."
Gadecki's grand slam debut came 12 months after originally planned. She missed the entire Australian summer last year after opting against getting the Covid-19 jab.
"It's definitely a relief, but I knew what my decision entailed and I totally respect everyone's opinion and personal choice," Gadecki said. "I'm just grateful to be here."
The 20-year-old served seven aces, hit 19 winners and conceded only nine points on serve. At one stage in the second set she reeled off six consecutive games.
"I actually can't believe it. Wow, I'm speechless," she said in her on-court interview. "It's such an amazing crowd, my home slam, my first-ever main-draw grand slam win. I mean, a girl can only dream.
"It's such a confidence booster making the second round of a slam. It's just an amazing achievement, but I definitely believe that I can do more and I'm really looking forward to my next round."
Iga Swiatek's classy tribute to Ash Barty
Gadecki wasn't the only person with Barty on her mind on Monday, with World No.1 Iga Swiatek paying a classy nod to the Australian hero after her first-round win. Swiatek said the 2022 Australian Open winner had helped take her game to new heights.
"Last year when I lost to her in Adelaide, I was like 'I have to do everything to learn how to get back this slice and cope with the change of rhythm'," Swiatek said. "For the next few months, I was really, really motivated. I'm really grateful for that.
"She's just a huge inspiration and the way she behaves, she's so classy. It just seemed like she really enjoyed competing and having a challenge, which I really admire because sometimes for me a challenge is something that I tend to get nervous before. So I really wanted to kind of have this mindset and she really inspired me to work on myself."
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 16, 2023
Swiatek took over from Barty at the top of the WTA rankings when the Aussie announced her shock retirement last March. She has now won the same number of grand slams as the retired Aussie (three).
"Besides being really nervous, I really enjoyed it," Swiatek said of her 6-4 7-5 win over Jule Niemeier of Germany. "I'm pretty happy to get through this match. It was really tricky."
Swiatek's best showing at the Australian Open is her semi-final appearance last year. She will be looking to go one step further in 2023 and win her fourth career major.
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