Tennis star Ash Barty continues to fire up the world rankings and one expert believes she can reach No. 1.
Barty cracked the top 10 for the first time in her career after winning the Miami Open on the weekend.
The 22-year-old was named National Indigenous Tennis ambassador last year, to inspire more young people to get involved in tennis.
What better way to inspire Indigenous youth to pick up a racket than to become the world number one?
She would become the first Australian woman to reach the top spot in world tennis since her idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley led the pack in 1976.
Barty’s confidence has been boosted by reaching 9th in the WTA rankings following the victory in Miami.
“I think the best thing is I do feel like I belong on this tour. I feel like when I play my best, I’m good enough to match it with the very best in the world,” Barty said.
Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Todd Woodbridge said Barty is going to be a genuine contender for the Wimbledon title in July.
“She’s really comfortable with her results. She believes obviously that she’s good enough now to beat any player in the world,” Woodbridge said.
“Her celebrations weren’t over the top last week. She could have really gone a bit nuts over knowing she’d made the top 10.”
But that didn’t happen. That to me is an indication that, ‘Okay I’m nowhere near what my goal is and I’m just taking each step now to becoming ever so closer to reaching whatever her goal might be, whether that’s to win a slam or potentially even get to No.1’.”
Woodbridge believes Barty’s style will suit the grass court at Wimbledon but thinks the event to watch out for is the French Open on clay.
“Ash is a pure all-court player,” he said.
“A lot of people are putting Wimbledon as the slam she could win—and with her slice backhand and volley and her ability to get into net there, she’s obviously going to be a real force.”
“It’s funny that clay might be the one that people least expect her to win on, but it might be the one that actually opens up for her.”
Her journey to world No.9 has been full of momentum. Her win at the WTA event in Zhuhai late last year drew all eyes to the young star for the Australian Open in January, where she made the quarter finals. The Miami victory is now her biggest to date—as it’s widely regarding as the ‘fifth major’.
The gap between 9 and 1 is small in terms of points; she needs under 2,000 points more than her competitors. That’s compared to the 6,000-point gap from 15 to 1.
Barty’s next event is the Fed Cup Semi-Final in Brisbane against Belarus this month, where she will be Australia’s main attacking weapon.
By Keiran Deck