When Ashleigh Barty follows up a winning roar with her trademark smile, waving on centre court to a mob of dancing, Vegemite-shirt-wearing fans, people of Ipswich can be content that the hysteria which comes with success is home-grown.
Today, Barty hits the court against Petra Kvitova in the first Grand Slam quarter final appearance of her short career.
On Sunday, she beat a household name Maria Sharapova who’s best known for her on-court screams.
Tennis fans will know Kvitova for her two Wimbledon titles in 2011 and 2014.
But that was then.
Join the party
If you’re looking for some atmosphere, all of Ashleigh Barty’s finals games will be shown live on the big screen at Robelle Domain.
Today’s quarter final starts at 6pm against Petra Kvitova.
If she wins, times for the semi-final will be released via our Facebook page. So, get on down to Robelle Domain and cheer on your charge, Ipswich. She deserves your support.
Now, the 28-year-old Czech Republic left-hander is all that stands between our girl Ash and an unseeded opponent in the semi-final, and who knows – perhaps, just perhaps, becoming the first Australian to win since Evonne Goolagong, Margaret Court, Kerry Reid and Chris O’Neill made winning an Aussie tradition in the 1970s.
Since then, winners have represented 12 countries and four continents. But no green and gold. In fact, if Barty is to make the final on Saturday, she’ll be the first Australian since Wendy Turnbull in 1980 to do so.
Sure, last year a proud Ipswich City Council determined that Barty deserved the keys to the city – such was the magnitude of her performances to date.
But this is bigger than that. When it comes to success, we’re a demanding nation, and when Barty wears her heart on her sleeve and the pride of Ipswich in her pocket, she’ll be carrying the weight of her country’s hope that she can break a 41-year drought.
Word has it that Barty’s close circle of family, friends and coaching staff are keeping a lid on the excitement.
Last year, childhood coach Jim Joyce predicted her latest performance was always on the cards, particularly after a break playing cricket.
“I think you’ll see the best of Ash in 12 months to two years,” he said. “If she stays happy and injury free she could do anything in tennis.”