“Nothing. Nothing at all.” That was Ash Barty’s response to a question about what did the WTA number one ranking change for the tennis champion during post match media interviews at the Birmingham Classic on Sunday.
The second last hurdle to number one was cleared on Saturday when Barty came through the semi-final with Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-4 to win her 11th match in a row.
On Sunday she made her way into the record books by defeating Julie Goerges 6-3, 7-5 to win the Birmingham Classic and her sixth career WTA tour title.
Barty is the first Australian woman to be ranked number one since Evonne Goolagong in 1976 and said after the match it was always her goal to be the best.
“It’s ultimately why we train, why we compete and play, but for it to happen in this way has been amazing,” she said.
“It’s a testament to all of my team who have put so much time and invested so much passion and energy into my career and try and make me the best that I can be.
“Jules is an incredible competitor and she is never going to hand a match over lightly. She is always going to come up with her best stuff when her back is against the wall.
“So it was important for me to try and stay in touch and getting that break back early in the set was really important to not kind of give her a sniff of winning a set on her serve.”
As a four year old, Barty attended West Brisbane Tennis Centre junior coaching program under the watchful eye of Jim Joyce, who last year predicated the best of Barty was still to come.
Barty went to school in Ipswich at Woodcrest State College where current dean of the school Alfio Balsamo was previously head of Health and Physical Education (HPE).
“My memories of Ash are that even when she wasn’t here she was still doing schoolwork online,” he said.
“She highly valued her schoolwork and academic achievements to the point where she was still a straight A student through to year 12.
“She might have got one or two Bs, but still strived to get straight As.”
While attending school, Barty won the girls singles title at Wimbledon in 2011.
“When she was back here (from travelling the world) what she wanted to do was catch up with friends, be a normal part of the class and didn’t want to be seen as different,” he said.
“In HPE she played every sport possible joining in volleyball and soccer, pretty much anything she could join, mainly to be with her friends and be a normal student.
“Ash was an incredibly humble student and incredible hard worker. I think that dedication to her work is showing through on what she is doing now.”
Mr Balsamo said the school community felt extreme pride.
“The fact a Woodcrest student has managed to reach world number one, but we’re also extremely proud that we got to know Ashleigh while she was still at school,” he said.
“We’re extremely proud of her family as well.”
Tennis Queensland president Mark Bloomfield said the Barty’s win would inspire a new generation of female tennis stars.
“They have a role model now” he said.
I have previously said that Ipswich will host a party for each grand slam final she makes.
Ipswich City Council interim administrator Greg Chemello congratulated Ash Barty on behalf of the city.
“I have previously said that Ipswich will host a party for each grand slam final she makes,” he said.
“The yearly grand slam tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.
“Now we can look forward to Wimbledon and the city hosting another Barty party should Ash reach the final.
“We are certainly hoping she does.”