26 January 2020

World No 1 tennis player and French Open champion Ashleigh Barty named Young Australian of the Year 2020 to mark Australia Day and top off her phenomenal year on the court

Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty has been named as the Young Australian of the Year for 2020, topping off a phenomenal 12 months that saw her win the French Open and earn the top spot in the WTA rankings.

The 23-year-old, who is the top seed for the current Australian Open, became the first Australian woman since Evonne Goolagong Cawley to top the rankings when she replaced Naomi Osaka in June.

She stayed there for just seven weeks but in September 2019 regained pole position and has remained there since.

"Ash Barty is the world's number one tennis player, a champion athlete and an extraordinary young woman doing our nation proud," said the chair of the National Australia Day Council, Danielle Roche.

This is not the first accolade she has been awarded in the last year, claiming the Newcombe Medal for Australia's most outstanding elite tennis player of 2019 and in November won the Don award at Sports Australia's Hall of Fame annual dinner in Melbourne. The award is given to an athlete, male or female, whose achievements are considered to most inspire the nation.

Barty rounded off 2019 winning the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, conquering Elina Svitolina in the final and was named WTA Player of the Year for 2019.

Ash Barty takes tips from Brisbane Heat coach Andy Richards (PA Images)

Not just a star on the tennis court, Barty, who turned professional in 2010, demonstrated she is also a dab hand with a cricket bat when she took time away from tennis in 2014 to play cricket for the Brisbane Heat T20 side in the inaugural Women's Big Bash before returning to the WTA Tour in 2016.

She is currently competing at the 2020 Australian Open and on Sunday came through a marathon three set match against America's Alison Riske to reach the quarter finals.

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