Jelena Dokic was forced to fight back tears during an emotional post-match interview with Ash Barty at the Australian Open on Monday night.
Barty made an early Australian Open statement with a 6-0 6-1 thrashing of Lesia Tsurenko to cruise into the second round.
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In a ruthless performance on Rod Laver Arena, a steely eyed Barty raced through the straight-sets victory in just 54 minutes to continue her perfect start to the year.
Barty was then interviewed on court by former player-turned-commentator Dokic, who became emotional while paying tribute to the women's World No.1.
Dokic's voice broke as she congratulated Barty on her Wimbledon triumph last year.
“I want to first congratulate you on your Wimbledon win. I’m sure I speak for everyone here, everyone in Australia, around the world, particularly myself - thank you,” Dokic said.
“You gave us so much joy watching that last year. You made us so proud. I get goosebumps right now. I just want to hug you but I can’t.
“There are no words to describe what you’ve done so thank you for that.
“Now I’m going to lose all my questions.”
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 17, 2022
Dokic also became emotional last year when Barty was crowned Wimbledon champion, paying tribute to her and her parents in a beautiful live TV moment.
During Monday night's interview, Barty also spoke proudly of her achievements last year and her Indigenous heritage.
“I think I’m my most comfortable self when I’m out on the court … I’m a very, very proud Indigenous woman," she said.
"I love my heritage, I love to celebrate my heritage.
“It’s what connects me to all of you here today. It’s what connects me to the land.”
The touching interview melted hearts on social media, with commentators and fans commending both Dokic and Barty.
“Jelena Dokic’s on-court interview of Ash Barty - Wimbledon, Indigenous heritage, expression - was outstanding. The world No. 1 is Australia’s and is much loved," tweeted tennis writer Prajwal Hegde.
Jelena Dokic's on-court interview of Ash Barty -- Wimbledon, indigenous heritage, expression -- was outstanding. The world No.1 is Australia's and is much loved. #AusOpen
— Prajwal Hegde (@prajhegde) January 17, 2022
Jelena Dokic is so sweet. Who better to do the post match interview with Ash Barty. #AusOpen
— adam mccarthy (he/him) (@___amccarthy) January 17, 2022
Two of our best tennis players having a chat. About life, about family, about tennis. Remarkable people.
— Peter Priest (@PeterAPriest) January 17, 2022
Great interview from Jelena especially when she makes you tear up at the start 😋 What she said was right though 😁
— JoJo💋🌹 (@JojosTweety) January 17, 2022
Jelena does a great job with her post match interviews
— Mandy Mands (@Mandarine2010) January 17, 2022
Oh Jelena Dokic is tearing up telling Ash Barty how proud she makes us, and how much joy she brought us as a nation
And now I'm crying
— f ❤️🔥 (@pluckyloser) January 17, 2022
Great seeing Ash Barty interviewed on court by Aussie @wwos commentators. Jelena Dokic has such affection for Ash. I think last year's #Wimbledon win means a great deal to Jelena, as Ash was able to achieve what Jelena couldn't. If only Damir wasn't her coach. 😔 #AusOpen 🇦🇺🎾
— Jayele (@msjayele) January 17, 2022
Ash Barty powers into second round in 54 minutes
Barty opened the 2022 season with singles and doubles glory in Adelaide and stamped her Open favouritism once more on Monday night.
In her third consecutive year as the top seed in her home slam, Barty conceded she still had to handle the butterflies of hitting centre court on opening night.
"It never changes. I think I'm probably more relaxed before I walk out onto court, but once I do walk out there, it's, for me, always a little bit of a dry mouth and it's exciting to know that we are warming up to play the Australian Open," she said.
"You have to be able to enjoy these moments and certainly not take them for granted. So I think it's probably a little bit twofold.
"I'm quite relaxed before, and I know what I'm going to go out there and try and do.
"But once you do get out there, there is that five minutes for the warm-up and settling in before that first point is played, always nice to settle those butterflies a little bit."
Barty staved off an early attack from Tsurenko, comfortably saving two break points when leading 2-0, then kicked into another gear to seize the upper hand.
It extended her run of matches without being broken to four, while Barty has now notched 41 consecutive service holds.
"The last kind of five or six matches I felt like I found a really good rhythm on my service games," she said.
"I've been able to get out of some tricky ones and kind of serve my way out of some tricky spots."
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