Barty, de Minaur lead Aussie tennis charge

Darren Walton
Newcombe Medallists Ashleigh Barty and Alex de Minaur are leading an Australian tennis resurgence

Hunting in packs is making Australia's tennis aces even hungrier.

So say newly-crowned Newcombe Medallists Ashleigh Barty and Alex de Minaur, anyway.

After years of pinning their grand slam hopes largely on Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur, suddenly Australian tennis fans have a glut of talent to keep them interested.

Led by 22-year-old Barty and 19-year-old de Minaur, Australia have 10 men and women inside the world's top 100 - plus another nine in the top 200.

It's not quite the halcyon days of the 1950s and '60s when the names of Rosewall, Hoad, Sedgman, McGregor, Laver, Emerson, Fraser, Cooper, Stolle, Newcombe, Court and Bowrey dominated the grand slam honour rolls.

But it's a start - and de Minaur puts the renaissance down to good old-fashioned Aussie mateship.

"I think Australian tennis is in a great spot. It's all to do with the camaraderie between all of us," de Minaur said.

"We're all out there watching each other, supporting each other and hitting with each other and pretty much we just want the best for each other."

He's not wrong.

Go to any of the four annual majors and if Barty isn't partnering Thanasi Kokkinakis, like they did in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon last year, you can bet some other all-Aussie combo is out on court playing together.

And, if not, they'll be courtside cheering on another Aussie compatriot - like Daria Gavrilova, the Russian-born import and partner of former Wimbledon junior champion Luke Saville.

Even the heavily-pregnant retired star Casey Dellacqua can't walk away.

Dellacqua was reduced to tears after being awarded the Spirit of Tennis award at Monday night's Newcombe Medal ceremony for her achievements on court and off.

The West Australian spent last week in Melbourne mentoring 12 of the country's most talented up-and-comers, next-gen players that Barty hopes will soon join the Australian resurgence.

"We have a lot of girls that are just on that fringe of 100, 150, 200 in the world that will hopefully can springboard next year and really join Sam, Dash and I in the top 100," Barty said.

"Look, I think we're in a really good place."

While most believed Barty would have been a worthy sole recipient of a second straight Newcombe Medal, the world No.15 said de Minaur "thoroughly deserved" to be named a joint winner after soaring from No.208 to 31st in the world in 2018.

"To be able to share it with Alex is even more special," Barty said.

"Alex has had one of the most incredible years I've ever seen."