In the moments following a final defeat in front of her home crowd, Ashleigh Barty’s attention is quickly turned to those doing it tough in the wake of Australia’s devastating bushfire crisis.
The hometown favourite had just fallen in the women’s doubles decider alongside good friend Kiki Bertens, despite having held a championship point.
It was a loss that mattered little in the scheme of events.
Ever modest, the 23-year-old chose not to reiterate her pre-tournament pledge in her runners-up speech.
Barty donated her $92,800 prize purse from the Brisbane International to the Red Cross’s bushfire relief efforts.
This on top of the $30,000 she had already gifted to the RSPCA to help fire-affected animals.
There would be no song and dance about the grand total. She didn’t require praise.
“It’s been really great to be back on the competition court this week and I think with everything that’s been going on in Australia, the way everyone has been coming together has just been incredible,” Barty said.
“All in all I’m bloody proud to be an Aussie so thank you very much everyone.”
The impact of the world No.1’s rise in 2019 ripples far beyond the tangible titles and lucrative endorsements.
Thank you @kikibertens. A lot of fun this week my friend 👯♀️
Amazing to play at home again on this beautiful court and to see so many incredible smiling fans 🥰
See you soon Adelaide! pic.twitter.com/Y3dKT7egRz
— Ash Barty (@ashbarty) January 12, 2020
Former world No.4 and Wimbledon semi-finalist Jelena Dokic believes Barty is already having a profound positive influence on young women.
Dokic spoke of Barty using her platform for the greater good at the Brisbane International Women in Sport Brunch on Sunday.
“Tennis is such a high-profile sport – not just in Australia, but in the world – and we have such a huge platform that we can influence so many things,” Dokic said.
“That starts with the little kids. That’s why I love what Ash Barty has done – not just as a world No.1 and Grand Slam champion, but she’s such a great role model for so many kids.
“So many girls, especially, are getting involved in tennis because of her.”
Now an author and television commentator, Dokic hoped her own journey had inspired young Australian women.
“We have to use the platform,” she said.
“Hopefully I’ve done that to a few kids – not just to get them out there playing tennis but I think sport builds character.
“It teaches you a lot of things early on … If I’m able to inspire girls that’s wonderful, even if it’s off the court.”