Ash Barty's perfect response to question about Serena Williams

Ash Barty, pictured here after winning the Australian Open.
Ash Barty joined an exclusive list of players including Serena Williams with her Australian Open triumph. Image: Australian Open/Getty

Ash Barty offered a typically classy and humble response after winning the Australian Open when asked how she felt about equalling an extraordinary feat held by some of the greats of the game.

Barty became the first Australian in 44 years to win their home grand slam on Saturday night after Chris O'Neil's surprise triumph in 1978.

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She also joined Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the only active players with a grand slam title on all three surfaces - hard, grass and clay.

After winning the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021, Barty's Australian Open triumph put her on the exclusive list.

Barty and Williams are the only two of that esteemed club to have won their first three slams on three different surfaces.

But when asked about the feat in her post-match press conference, Barty wasn't prepared to put herself in the same league as the tennis giants.

"I feel very humble to be in such a select group," Barty said after her 6-3 7-6 (7-2) win over Danielle Collins.

"To be honest, I don't really feel like I belong with those champions of our sport.

"There's still work to be done, without a doubt. I'm still very much learning and trying to refine my craft and trying to learn every single day to get better and better.

"It's amazing to be able to have this experience and this opportunity on three different surfaces and be really consistent across the board.

"Ultimately, that was one of the biggest challenges that Jim set out for me when I was young, to be a complete player and be really consistent across all surfaces and be able to play on all surfaces.

"So to have a grand slam title on each surface is pretty amazing. I never probably thought it would ever happen to me.

"So very, very lucky and very humbled and privileged to be able to be a part of it."

Ash Barty, pictured here with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after winning the Australian Open.
Ash Barty shows off the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after winning the Australian Open. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Ash Barty pays tribute to Australian trailblazers

The 25-year-old said it was "surreal" to follow in the footsteps of some of the legends of Australian tennis.

"As Australians, we're extremely lucky to have the tennis history and the rich history that we do, particularly here at the Australian Open," she said.

"But across all grand slams, we've had champions that have stemmed back years and years and years and have really set the platform for us to come through and try and do what we do and try and create our own path."

Barty paid a special tribute to her Indigenous idol and mentor Evonne Goolagong Cawley, as well as fellow Queenslanders Pat Rafter and Samantha Stosur.

Ash Barty and Evonne Goolagong Cawley, pictured here during the trophy presentation after the Australian Open final.
Ash Barty and Evonne Goolagong Cawley during the trophy presentation after the Australian Open final. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

"There are a few that are closer to home for me, and obviously more of their stories I've been more invested in just because I know them more as a person," Barty said.

"Those people that come to mind, Pat Rafter and Evonne, in the way that they handled themselves on the court.

"For me, there's just no-one better. Recently you've had your Dylan (Alcotts), Sam (Stosurs), who are really able to just enjoy the experience and bring so many different people to tennis, bring so many different walks of life to this beautiful sport that we play.

"I'm a very, very small part of that.

"I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing myself, but to be a very small part of an amazing history in tennis as an Australian is really, really neat."

with AAP

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