Young indigenous star says Barty is the ideal role model
THERE'S no doubt Ash Barty has locked herself in as the sweetheart of Australian sport for some time, but it's the impact away from the court she has had which is just as important.
Barty won her first Grand Slam title on the weekend after defeating Markéta Vondroušová 6-1, 6-3 in the final of the French Open.
The 23-year-old became the first Australian woman to win at Roland Garros since Margaret Court in 1973.
She also followed in her idol's footsteps, becoming the second indigenous Australian to win the title after Evonne Goolagong Cawley claimed the crown in 1971.
Barty's loveable personalty and cheeky smile has won the world over, but it's her spirit which has garnered her a loyal fan base since she burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old.
Coffs Harbour's own indigenous tennis star Lily Pade stayed up to watch Barty's crowning moment, and said the girl from Ipswich deserves all the praise which comes her way.
"It was exciting watching her win her first Grand Slam, especially being an indigenous girl,” Lily said.
"She's such a good role model for Indigenous people and she always has been.
"It's because of her fight on the court. She always plays until the end.”
Lily, who recently returned from competing at the Fiji Open, played in the North Coast Titles over the weekend and made it to the quarter finals.
Her next big event is the NSW Country Championships in Forster next month.