While her opponents were slogging it out at the cold and miserable French Open on Saturday, Ash Barty was enjoying a beer (or two) at the footy on a warm Brisbane night.
If that doesn’t sum up 2020 for you, what does?
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Barty opted not to travel to Roland Garros or the preceding US Open this year, despite being the defending champion in Paris.
The Australian champion hasn’t played a competitive match since February, yet none of her nearest rivals have managed to take the World No.1 ranking from her.
The loss ended Halep's career-best winning streak of 17 consecutive matches, guaranteeing that Barty - who chose to skip the US and French Opens due to concerns about coronavirus and her preparation - will finish the year atop the world rankings.
And in doing so, Barty has made some incredible Australian tennis history.
The 24-year-old will become the first Australian woman to finish as World No.1 in back-to-back years, and the first Aussie since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.
Not bad for someone who hasn’t played in eight months.
Barty sent fans into a frenzy on Saturday night when she was spotted at the Gabba cheering on her beloved Richmond Tigers against Brisbane.
With beer in hand, Barty could be seen revving up the Tigers as they fought to come back against the Lions.
“Imagine if you’d been told in January that Ash Barty would watch an AFL final in person while the French Open - of which she is defending champion - was going on simultaneously,” Fox Sports’ Daniel Cherny tweeted.
Others described Barty as “our true queen” and an “Australian icon”.
Ash Barty our true queen 👸🏻 🍺— Jacqueline Felgate (@Jacquifelgate) October 2, 2020
The Ash Barty fist pump with beer in hand is bloody everything. What a legend— Lee Gaskin (@Lee_Gaskin1) October 2, 2020
Imagine if you’d been told in January that Ash Barty would watch an AFL final in person while the French Open - of which she is defending champion - was going on simultaneously.— Daniel Cherny 📰 (@DanielCherny) October 2, 2020
Simona Halep’s shock loss at French Open
Barty was guaranteed the year-end No.1 ranking when Iga Swiatek shocked top seed and title favourite Halep.
The 19-year-old from Poland thumped 30 winners and outplayed Halep in all areas of the court to win 6-1 6-2 on Sunday.
Halep and Swiatek met at the same stage last summer with the Pole, a former junior Wimbledon champion, managing to win just one game.
The teenager appeared stunned after this famous victory, saying: “I don't know what happened. I felt like I was playing perfectly. I was so focused the whole match. Even I am surprised that I can do that.”
Halep was able to keep the loss in perspective.
“I realise that it was a fantastic year with all the tough moments that we all had, so I'm not going to ruin the whole year just for a match,” the Romanian said.
“Of course it's not easy to take it, but I'm used to some tough moments in this career.
“So I will have a chocolate and I will be better tomorrow.”
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