Ash Barty has finished off a stellar 2019 season with her No. 1 ranking intact after winning the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals – the first Australian to do so since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.
Barty beat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-3 at the final in Shenzhen, China and is the first Australian to win the WTA ranking since its inception in 1975.
The last person to finish on top at the season’s end was USA’s Serena Williams five years ago.
Yet another feather in her cap, the 23-year-old has also picked up a massive pay day, earning herself $6.4 million.
Ever humble in her celebration of her epic victory, Barty first congratulated her opponent.
“First and foremost, congratulations to Elina and your team, you’ve had an exceptional year,” Ms Barty said.
“You’re one of the toughest competitors on the tour and I know we’ll have many, many more battles in the future.”
Barty’s outstanding performance included dropping only five points in her first four service games before gaining the opening set against Svitolina with a forehand smash.
The tennis star dropped a serve twice in the second set but was able to come back with great skill and gain the victory in the one hour and 27-minute match.
This match also represented a personal best for Barty, with Svitolina winning all five previous encounters.
Barty said she will be looking forward to spending a week at home after an exceptionally busy and outstanding year.
“I’m just looking forward to spending some time with my family, spending some time in Australia and just really relaxing, recharging.”
“Give me a week at home with a few beers on the couch where I can kind of relive what has happened in 2019. It’s just been a crazy year, it really has … It feels like it’s been a year that just hasn’t stopped.”
On how she is going to spend those winnings, the answer was in a spoilt niece and nephew at Christmas.
“The amount of zeroes you have in the bank account doesn’t change how I’m going to spend my off-season and spend time with my family,” Ms Barty said.
Barty has a week off before heading to Perth for the Fed Cup.