"I was very nervous (at Eastbourne) because I didn't even know if I would get in the draw", she said.
Australia's Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning her women's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in two sets 6-1, 6-3, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Saturday, June 8, 2019.
Barty took a topsy-turvy three setter against Amanda Anisimova, and deserves credit for the way she bounced back from a disastrous first set.
Ash Barty chose to take a break from tennis in 2014 to play cricket.
Since her return to the sport, Barty has been open on her efforts to stay healthy mentally as well as physically, and she had plenty of advice to share for her young final opponent, Vondrousova, who at 19 years old is just one year older than Barty was when she chose to stop playing.
Goolagong Cawley, one of Australia's most famous indigenous athletes, won the French Open in 1971, the first of her seven Grand Slam singles tennis titles.
Barty, who has made regular references to following the World Cup during her time in Paris, stepped away from tennis in 2014 and a year later signed for Brisbane Heat in the WBBL.
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Neither Barty, 23, nor Vondrousova had ever played in a Grand Slam final before. I played the ideal match today.
But she truly looked the part Saturday, with her formidable sliced backhand creating openings that she took advantage of with her topspin forehand, which produced 11 of her winners.
The women's final started about 1½ hours later than scheduled because it followed the resumption of Dominic Thiem's 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 victory over Novak Djokovic in the men's semifinals, a match suspended Friday evening because of rain. She had been a successful junior, winning the 2011 Wimbledon girls' title, and played in three doubles finals by then, too. "It's just been an wonderful journey that we've had over the last few years", Barty said. "She wanted to reassess her life. It's been a magical two weeks".
And Barty broke once more, hammering away a simple smash on her first match point to seal her moment in the spotlight, with Vondrousova left sitting on the bench in tears. It's been the most wonderful journey we've been on the last three years.
She finally held serve for the first time in the match, though, saving two break points in the third game.
She considers herself an indigenous athlete and has said "my heritage is really important to me".