Ash Barty, last year’s Australian Open champion, brought the winner’s trophy, the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, to the Rod Laver Arena before the women’s singles final between Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka in Melbourne on Saturday.
Barty beat USA’s Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6(2) in last year’s final to become the first home champion in singles in 44 years.
Two months later, the then World No. 1 Barty announced her retirement from the sport at the age of 25 years. “I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent,” Barty told her former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua in an Instagram video.
Barty, who also won the 2019 French Open and 2021 Wimbledon, recently announced that she is pregnant. She had married long-time partner Garry Kissick last year. Earlier this month, in an Instagram post, she said that 2023 was “set to be the biggest year yet” with a picture of her dog alongside a pair of baby shoes.
Since her retirement, Barty has received The Don Award, named for Australia’s most accomplished and famous sportsperson, cricket player Don Bradman. The Sport Australia Hall of Fame honor goes to an athlete or team that “provided the most inspiration to the country through performance and example in the past year.” She also got her fifth John Newcombe Medal — named after Australian seven-time Grand Slam singles winner John Newcombe — for being her nation’s top tennis player of the year.
Barty also released her autobiography titled ‘My Dream Time.’