London: Two Australians have won Wimbledon women’s singles title five times before Ashleigh Barty joined the club on Saturday. Margaret Court was the first to do so in 1963 and followed it up by winning in 1965 and 1970.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley bagged the title twice, in 1971 and 1980. Ashleigh on Saturday lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish after defeating Karolina Pliskova in three sets in the final, winning 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 in one hour and 55 minutes.
And on the day of her biggest triumph, Ashleigh hoped that she had made Evonne proud by ending 41-year-old drought for Australia.
“I didn’t sleep a lot last night thinking of all the what-ifs, but coming out on to the Centre Court, I felt at home. And I hope I made Evonne proud,” Ashleigh said during her address at the presentation ceremony.
Though it looked like Karolina was getting back into the match after winning the second set, Ashleigh told her self to keep fighting. And that paid off as she went on to win the final.
“At the start of the third I told myself to just keep fighting. She’s an incredible competitor, and she brought out the best in me. It was an exceptional match and I’m really proud that I was able to bring my best level, reset, just keep chipping away and hold my nerve at the end. I can’t thank my team enough, sacrificing their time and energy into my dream,” Ashleigh said.
Asked what she remembered of the match point, Ashleigh said: “Match point? I can’t remember it! Being able to live out my dream with everyone here has made it better than I could ever have imagined.”
She thanked Karolina for putting up a good fight.
“This is incredible. I have to say to Kaira (Karolina Pliskova) congratulate to you and your team for a fantastic tournament. I like testing myself against you and I am sure we will play many more matches,” she said.