Event: Womens Tennis Singles and Doubles
Olympic History: Olympic debutant
Highlights: 2019 French Open Champion
Coach: Craig Tyzzer
Year Born: 1996
State Born: QLD
Ipswich-born Australian tennis superstar Ashleigh Barty will be a top contender for Olympic gold when she descends upon the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo.
The current world number one will come into the Japanese capital with 11 career titles to her name, including a Roland Garros title which she achieved in 2019.
Barty has amassed an international following through her laid-back approach to the sport and persevering attitude, even in the most intense of matches. Spectators often don the nickname 'Barty Party' when supporting her in tournaments, especially during the Australian leg of the WTA Tour.
Ash began playing tennis at four-years-old at the West Brisbane Tennis Centre, where she was mentored by Jim Joyce who would become her coach in her junior career.
Barty turned to the professional WTA Tour in 2010, when she was 14-years-old. She showed early signs of greatness, producing a career-high junior ranking of number 2 in the world. After one year on the professional circuit, Ash had been crowned champion of the Girls' Singles at Wimbledon in 2011. She was also a three-time Grand Slam runner up in the doubles event alongside Casey Dellacqua.
At 18-years-old, Barty stepped away from tennis to explore life outside of sport. She was signed by the Brisbane Heat as a starting player for the first Women's Big Bash League season, as well as Queensland Fire for the Women's National Cricket League.
After her hiatus, she won both the singles and doubles events at the Malaysian Open, only her second tournament after returning to the sport. Her double victory saw her enter the top 100, and she would continue to climb up the rankings throughout the year.
2019 was a massive year for Ash. She was crowned champion at Roland Garros, after a massive two week campaign. She rose to world number two after becoming the first Australian to win the French Open since Margaret Court in 1973. She achieved the world number one ranking after winning a title at her next tournament, becoming only the second Australian woman to do so in the history of the WTA singles.
Although the world number one ranking fluctuates often in the WTA world, Barty has held the position for a monstrous 81 weeks, ending both the 2019 and 2020 seasons in that position. She also ended the 2019 as champion of the WTA Finals.
Her playing style is characterised by powerful groundstrokes, a consistent backhand and effective slice culminating to produce an unpredictable performance that opponents struggle to profile in competition. Her universal game means that she is able to constantly make it to the late stages of tournaments in both singles and doubles events.
She has produced strong performances across the two disciplines, which is uncommon for professional tennis players who prefer to specialise in one event. She has reached the finals of every single grand slam in the women's doubles category, winning the event at the US Open in 2018 alongside American Coco Vandeweghe.
No stranger to national representation, Ash has been a member of the Australian Fed Cup team since her debut at sixteen-years-old. She also represented Australia twice in the Hopman Cup in 2013 and 2019, just before the event was retired.
As an Aboriginal woman, Barty is also a National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia, working with the youth in indigenous communities around the country and encouraging them to engage in sports.
Ash opted to limit travel and international competition in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, taking to the golf course where she won the Brookwater Golf Club Championships in Brisbane this past September.
The 25-year-old will make her Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games, representing Australia in the women's singles and doubles tennis.