Third Grand Slam beckons cricketer, golfer Barty

29 January,2022 07:14 AM IST |  Melbourne  |  AFP

Few athletes can boost such a varied sporting resume, but the down-to-earth Australian has taken it in her stride

Danielle Collins and Ashleigh Barty



Multi-talented Ashleigh Barty has been a professional cricketer, won a golf tournament and collected two tennis Grand Slam titles, with a third beckoning at the Australian Open on Saturday when she takes on Danielle Collins. Few athletes can boost such a varied sporting resume, but the down-to-earth Australian has taken it in her stride.

Barty began playing tennis as a child in the Queensland state capital Brisbane. But it was a trip to the Australian Open for a training camp when she was "11 or 12" that proved to be the spark that drove her to where she is today. "To see how professional it was and to see everyone going about their business was really eye-opening," she said this week. "I think being able to get a taste of that kind of lit the flame. You wonder what you can achieve. You wonder what you can do."

Spurning BBL contract

The Australian went on to win the junior Wimbledon title as a 15-year-old in 2011. But the expectations that came with success took their toll and she made a shock decision three years later to ditch tennis for cricket, signing for Brisbane Heat in the inaugural Women's Big Bash League.

"In short, I think I needed just to find myself," Barty said when reflecting on that time of her life. "I felt like I got twisted and maybe a little bit lost along the way in the first part of my career." While cricket gave her "a different perspective about sport", the lure of tennis was never far away and driven by an ambition to taste success again at Wimbledon she returned after a season away.

Late bloomer Collins

Collins has had more than her fair share of pain on the long road to a first Grand Slam final. Last year the American had emergency surgery for endometriosis and at the French Open suffered an abdominal injury. Nine months later the World No.30 is in the Australian Open final after blowing away Polish seventh seed Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-1 in a power-packed 73-minute display of violent ball-striking.

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No. of consecutive matches Ashleigh Barty has been unbeaten in

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