When Ashleigh Barty was scorching the tennis courts at the 2022 Australian Open en route to a historic title win on home soil, some of her pals, who happen to be cricketers and golfers, were glued to TV screens — rooting for their once teammate around the 22-yard cricket pitch and on the golf greens.
On Saturday Barty ended her country’s 44-year wait for another woman Australian Open champion, as Chris O’Neil — the last Australian Open women’s singles winner in 1978 — applauded from the stands at Melbourne Park.
“It’s just been an incredible journey over these past 20 years of hitting a tennis ball but particularly the last five or six years in this second phase of my career,” said Barty, who also won the 2019 French Open and the 2021 Wimbledon titles.
But “hitting a tennis ball” is not all that the 25-year-old Barty has done over the last two decades. She is equally adept at driving the cricket and golf balls.

BARTY THE CRICKETER
By 2014, Barty was already a junior Wimbledon champion and almost destined for tennis fame. But the same year she decided to switch the racquet for a willow at the Western Suburbs District Cricket Club in Brisbane.
It didn’t take long for her to earn a contract with the club, thanks to her half-century in one of her opening games.
Her batting skills caught the eye of Women’s Big Bash League team Brisbane Heat who signed her for the inaugural season in 2015-16, in which she played nine matches.

(File image of Barty playing for Brisbane Heat – Photo credit: Brisbane Heat Twitter)
Not to forget Barty’s century for Queensland in the Women’s National Cricket League the same season. She averaged an impressive 46.60 with the bat.
But tennis would be thankful for Barty’s change of mind despite a successful start in professional cricket. She returned soon to the sport she played as a young girl and picked up the tennis racquet again.
With a historic title at the Australian Open, Barty now has won three of the four Grand Slams, with just the US Open left to conquer.

ON THE GOLF COURSE
Barty in many ways is the quintessential Aussie. From a very early age, Australians are encouraged to play multiple sports and the overall outdoors culture of the country sees kids try their hand at various sports.
Barty’s tryst with golf can, however, be termed incidental, even though her father had represented Australia as an amateur.
After Covid-19 shredded the sports calendar around the globe in 2020, Barty decided to test the greens on the golf course after opting out of the French Open and US Open citing pandemic concerns.

Barty-golf-twitter

(Photo Source: Twitter)
Barty showcased her all-round sports skills there too, winning the match-play final to clinch the Brookwater Golf Club championship in September 2020.
For now though, the world number one women’s singles player is firmly focused on her first love, tennis.

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