Rather than bask in the glory of becoming Australia’s first female World No.1 since 1976, Ash Barty’s immediate thoughts were with her vanquished opponent.
Barty cast friendship aside to down her German doubles partner Julia Goerges 6-3 7-5 in Sunday's final of the Birmingham Classic, to not only secure the world No.1 ranking but also top-seeding status for Wimbledon starting on July 1.
But once the match was over Barty was humble and kind to her opponent, paying a beautiful tribute to the runner-up in her victory speech.
“I couldn’t think of a better person to share the court with,” she told Goerges, who was in tears in her own speech.
“You’re one of my best friends on tour and you’ve been there for me since I was a little ‘tacker’.
“She’s the most incredible human being with the most amazing team.”
“@juliagoerges, I couldn’t think of a better person to share the court with.”@ashbar96 commends her #NatureValleyClassic final opponent and discusses a match that has earned her World No.1 status!
— WTA (@WTA) June 23, 2019
The pair also shared a beautiful embrace at the net after the final point.
Barty and Goerges actually made it to the semis in the doubles event in Birmingham, but withdrew once they both made the singles final.
Queen of the tennis world
Barely three years after quitting tennis suffering depression and home-sickness, then remarkably forging a professional cricket career, Barty will overtake Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka when the new rankings are released on Monday.
In doing so, the French Open champion will join her mentor and Indigenous idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley as only the second Australian to top the WTA rankings since they were introduced in 1973.
A seven-times grand slam champion, Goolagong Cawley was No.1 for a fortnight in 1976.
John Newcombe, Patrick Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt, who enjoyed 80 weeks at the summit between 2001 and 2003, are the only other Australians to have scaled such heights.
"It's been a whirlwind three weeks for me. It's been a whirlwind year for me but to follow in the footsteps of Evonne, even to be mentioned in the same sentence as her, is incredible," Barty said.
"What she's done for our sport for Australians all around the world, not just based in Australia, she's put us on the map.
"What she's done for Indigenous Australians as well, she's just been remarkable."
Barty is the 27th woman in 46 years to top the rankings - and the fourth-youngest in a decade.
"You always dream of it as a little kid for it but to become a reality, it's just incredible. It really is," Barty said.
"It's not something that was even in my realm. This year we were aiming for top 10 and now to be where we are is really a testament to all the people around me.
"I have the most incredible team with me who have been with me these last three years and we started at scratch three years ago without a ranking and now, to be where we are, is not only for me but it's a massive, massive achievement for them."