Ashleigh Barty delivered an historic double to Australia joining South Australiaâ€™s Luke Saville at the Wimbledon Junior Championships. This is the first time Australia has won both the boysâ€™ and girlsâ€™ singles titles in the same year.
Barty started slowly in her match against 16-year-old Russian No.3 seed Irina Kromacheva, trailing 4-1 in the first set before regaining her customary composure to fight back and win the match 7-5 7-6(3).
â€œI think I was just able to stick in there. I was never going to give up. Itâ€™s the final of Junior Wimbledon. I keep trying my guts out for every point. I was able to get a few good points in a row and upset her a little bit,â€ Barty said.
Barty is also the first indigenous Australian to claim a Wimbledon title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley, and is in regular contact with the former champion. â€œItâ€™s pretty special. As I say, I talk to Evonne quite a bit. Itâ€™s great to share that experience with her, even at the junior level.â€
Barty was supported in the stands by her AIS coach Nicole Pratt, AIS Pro Tour squad members – fellow Wimbledon champion Luke Saville, Andrew Whittington and Sean Berman, Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood and a host of former Australian players, coaches and support staff.
â€œIt was good,â€ Barty said of her cheer squad. â€œAll us Aussies are pretty close. It was good to get support from them today.
â€œI didnâ€™t put any expectations on myself coming to the tournament. I just wanted to come here and gain some experience. I was happy to get past the first round, let alone win it. So Iâ€™m really proud of what Iâ€™ve achieved this week,â€ Barty continued.
Luke Saville hoisted the boysâ€™ singles trophy on Saturday, the first Australian to do so since Todd Reid in 2003, although fellow AIS scholar Ben Mitchell reached the final in 2010.
â€œItâ€™s an unbelievable feeling,â€ Saville said after winning in three sets over Englandâ€™s local hope Liam Broady on a packed Court One.
â€œAfter putting the disappointment of the Australian Open loss behind me, to win the final, looking kind of bleak there for a little bit, down a set and a break, but to fight back and win in the third set was nice.
â€œYou know, words canâ€™t describe the feeling. Itâ€™s unbelievable. Iâ€™m playing a couple of Futures next week in England. Iâ€™m hoping to bring this form that Iâ€™ve produced here onto the menâ€™s Futures circuit.
â€œI remember Todd Woodbridge speaking to me. He said the morale of the story is â€˜donâ€™t tank, keep fighting to that last point. Even if you lose, give your fellow competitors a message that youâ€™re going to keep on fighting till the last point. Have that never-say-die attitude.â€™
â€œI think itâ€™s great. I think Australian junior tennis, although Bernard is not a junior anymore, he made the semis maybe last year or the year before, so I think weâ€™re going in the right direction.
â€œI think we have a good environment in Australian tennis right now,â€ Saville said.
â€œThis is a great effort by Ash and Luke,â€ Tennis Australiaâ€™s Director of Tennis, Craig Tiley said.
â€œPlaying in a Junior Grand Slam final is a significant accomplishment and both should be very proud of their success. These younger players continue to make us excited about the future of Australian tennis. Congratulations to them and our coaching staff on a very successful Wimbledon championships.â€
All Australians competing at the Junior Championships are members of the AIS Pro Tour program supporting the transition of junior players into senior ranks. Athletes are given world class coaching, physical and medical support.