Tennis legend's staggering live TV confession about Ash Barty

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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Tennis legend Martina Navratilova said she would name her child after Ash Barty after the Aussie star's Wimbledon triumph. Pictures: Getty Images
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova said she would name her child after Ash Barty after the Aussie star's Wimbledon triumph. Pictures: Getty Images

Ash Barty's success at Wimbledon is taking the tennis world by storm to a degree the 25-year-old would never have anticipated.

While her scintillating performances on court have earned her sporting acclaim, it has been Barty's demeanour off the court that has truly captured the hearts of the tennis world.

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The extent of the love for Barty was best exemplified by former star Martina Navratilova, who boldly declared she would name her child after the Aussie champion.

Navratilova, a nine-time Wimbledon champion herself, was thoroughly enamoured with Barty's peerless run in the All England tournament following her victory over Karolina Pliskova.

As the plaudits for the 25-year-old poured in from around the world, Navratilova's homage was evidently heartfelt as she made a point of interrupting the conclusion to BBC's coverage of the final to make her point.

"If I had a kid, I would name her - or him - Ash! Because she's the real deal!" she said.

"I want to congratulate both women for playing a great final - and I want to congratulate Ash Barty, who is a fantastic ambassador for our sport."She's a role model through and through."

The American champion was bullish about Barty's future prospects, tipping the affable Australian would go on to win several more grand slams.

Navratilova said Barty arguably could have a third grand slam victory to her name had injury not interrupted her campaign at the recent French Open.

"The possibility's definitely there. She should be a triple champion already (after the hip injury at the French Open cost her the chance to compete when she was in top form)," she said.

"Grass favours the athlete - and Ash Barty is certainly that, she's shown that the last few years.

"She's got 10 good years in her. Great years, hopefully."

Ash Barty humbled by role model suggestions after Wimbledon win

Yet despite all the talk about her tennis future, there was just as much focus on Barty the off-court role model.

After her win, one overseas reporter offered a tribute wrapped in with a question.

"Around the world you are respected as humble, kind and very nice person," he said.

"How important is it for you to be a very good human being along with top class tennis player?"

Barty, typically, sounded a mite embarrassed by the "kind" words as she thanked her questioner, but it was her answer that said everything about her.

Ash Barty of liftsthe Venus Rosewater Dish trophy after winning the Wimbledon final against Karolina Pliskova. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Ash Barty of liftsthe Venus Rosewater Dish trophy after winning the Wimbledon final against Karolina Pliskova. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

"I think I've just tried to live by my values that my parents instilled in me. I mean, it's more important to be a good person than it is a good tennis player," she said.

"Being able to learn from my parents and my siblings, my family, was a massive part of my upbringing.

"I think being a good human being is absolutely my priority every single day."

And she hopes she's blossoming as a person every day too, both on and off the court.

Wimbledon has, in effect, changed her.

"I think over the past fortnight, I've had massive, massive amounts of growth. Even the last fortnight I think I've grown as a person," she said.

"I've certainly been able to use my experience as a tennis player to get me through some tough matches this week.

"I felt like I was able to get better and better with each match and trust myself more and more each and every time I stood out on the court."

With AAP

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