From humble high school student to Aussie tennis star
ASH Barty was a down-to-earth high school student who travelled the world for tennis and still achieved straight As.
Now the 22-year-old Ipswich-born athlete is the top-ranked women's tennis player in Australia, but her sporting career had humble beginnings.
While thousands of Queenslanders cheer Barty on in today's quarter-final match against Petra Kvitova at the Australian Open, a small fan club will be watching from airconditioned classrooms at Woodcrest State College, where Barty completed her schooling.
Dean of College Alfio Balsamo was the head of sport when Barty was a student. He said she was always humble, even when travelling the world and winning the 2011 Junior Wimbledon.
"She never, ever had a big head about her. She was just a very humble, very down-to-earth student," he said.
"She was an absolutely fantastic student, she was able to travel the world, train, play tournaments and still get straight As, so she was just brilliant."
Barty had such an enormous talent for tennis as a junior that she progressed quickly through the ranks and got the chance to meet Queensland's tennis great, two-times US Open champion Pat Rafter.
The young tennis star first lifted a racquet at the age of five, but her junior coaches quickly realised she had what it takes to become a champion.
Sarah Joyce, whose husband Rob and his brother Jim own West Brisbane Tennis Centre, said Barty always stood out for having a natural talent.
"She was so far above her age group, when she was growing up," she said.
Today, Barty will take on Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open quarter-finals.