Record riches await Barty at the Open

Darren Walton
An Open win would put Ashleigh Barty on track to become Australia's highest prize money earner

Ashleigh Barty is poised to surpass Lleyton Hewitt as Australian tennis' all-time leading prize money winner following her spectacular rise up the grand slam ranks.

A hoodoo-busting Australian Open crown would elevate Barty above Samanatha Stosur as the country's highest-ever women's earner with $28.81 million in on-court collects alone.

The 23-year-old would trail only Hewitt, who banked $30.88 million during his two-major-winning career, and inevitably this season eclipse the former world No.1's total haul.

Not that money motivates Barty but the record riches awaiting the French Open champion comes as the last Australian woman to reach the final in Melbourne revealed she didn't even receive a trophy back in 1980.

"I don't have any trophy to show that I got to the final of the Australian Open singles," Wendy Turnbull told AAP on Wednesday.

"Even for being runner-up at the Australian Open, I didn't get a runner-up trophy like they do now."

Such have times changed since the amateur era, when Margaret Court received an umbrella for winning the title in 1960, that Barty stands to collect $4.12 million if she claims the title on Saturday.

Turnbull suspects her pay cheque will be the least of the world No.1's concerns entering Thursday's semi-final against emerging American Sofia Kenin.

Turnbull, who beat the legendary Martina Navratilova in the semi-finals 40 years ago before falling to Hana Mandlikova in the decider, said in this day and age she couldn't imagine how Barty would be dealing with the intense expectations on her young shoulders.

"I know Ash and everyone deals with stuff differently and she won the French Open final so she's already got a grand slam under her belt but playing in your own major is totally different," Turnbull said.

"All I wanted to do was win the Australian Open but I probably put too much pressure on myself.

"So I don't know how she's feeling. She seems to have a good team of people around her and she says all the right things.

"But first of all we have to get her over the semi-final hurdle."

Should she overcome Kenin, as she did in the fourth round last year in Paris, Barty can expect total hysteria in the lead-up to the final.

"I know when I played, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, was watching. So I was aware of that but now it's beamed worldwide," said Turnbull, who is flying from Brisbane to be courtside to watch Australia's great hope.

"If she's in the final, all of Australia will be watching and the crowd will go crazy.

"The thing is she has to remember is the other person is going to be just as nervous as she is - and that's a good thing to remember."