Ash Barty said she found some perspective after her heartbreaking Australian Open loss in the semi-final after a surprise visitor in the press conference.
American Sofia Kenin shattered Barty's Australian Open dream with a shock straight-sets semi-final win over the big home hope.
‘DON’T LIKE GOOD TENNIS’: Nadal blows up in ugly Australian Open exit
'SERIOUSLY IMPRESSIVE': Zverev re-affirms 'classy' bushfire pledge
‘THIS IS A JOKE’: Australian Open match stopped for 10 minutes in 'wild' argument
Kenin defied searing heat and her world No.15 ranking to upset the top seed 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 at Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.
But as Australia waited to hear from a surely devastated Barty, the Aussie appeared in the press conference with her 12-week old niece.
"This is what life's all about,” Barty told reporters.
“This is amazing.”
The response and image of Barty holding her niece with a smile once again showed why Australians have fallen for the inspirational sportswoman.
Ash Barty walks into her press conference carrying her 12-week old niece, and she's sat on her lap as she answers questions.— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) January 30, 2020
Barty introduces her than says: "This is what life's all about. This is amazing."
I love her. Such a classy, humble soul.— Rakesh Gopinath (@rakeshgopinath) January 30, 2020
Barty’s hopes shattered
A hot favourite to become the first Australian woman since Wendy Turnbull 40 years ago to make an Open final, the world No.1's defeat left the packed crowd on Rod Laver Arena shellshocked.
Even Kenin, who lost to Barty in the French Open fourth round last year, was pinching herself in the aftermath.
"Honestly, I'm so speechless. I honestly can't believe this. I've dreamed about this moment since I was five years old," said the Moscow-born 14th seed.
"I'm so speechless, thankful. I have worked so hard to be here. Thanks to my dad and everyone back home."
Barty dominated much of the opening set, conceding only four points in her first five service games.
But she paid the price for not cashing in on three break-point chances in the sixth game, as Kenin snatched the set in the breaker.
A winner of a tour-best 13 matches from a set down last year, Barty looked to be mounting a signature comeback when she charged to a 3-1 lead in the second set.
But, in temperatures nudging towards 40 degrees in Melbourne, the top seed crumbled trying to level the match up as Kenin reeled off four straight games from 3-5 down to seal victory after one hour and 45 minutes.
"I knew I needed to find a way to win. Thank you so much," Kenin told the crowd.
"This wasn't an easy one. I'm so grateful and thank you for this moment."