Sun, 21 Jul 2019

Sydney - Australia hailed "humble and inspirational" Ashley Barty as the new queen of tennis on Monday after she joined Evonne Goolagong Cawley as the country's second woman to reach world No 1.

The French Open champion claimed the top spot by beating Germany's Julia Goerges to win the Birmingham WTA title on Sunday, capping a remarkable rise by the 23-year-old who once quit tennis to play cricket.

Along with Goolagong Cawley, who briefly held the top rank in 1976, she emulated John Newcombe, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt in the pantheon of Australians to reach world No 1.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley commended a "remarkable historical accomplishment".

"It's a really hard thing to do and to achieve, that is just fantastic," he told the Channel Nine TV network.

"I know her, she's humble about it. She just wants to get back on the tennis court and have a good hit."

Sydney's Daily Telegraph crowned her the of tennis, with her down-to-earth approach a refreshing change for Australian tennis fans more used to the histrionics of Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic.

it wrote.

National broadcaster ABC said her rise was after being unranked in 2016 when she returned to the game from a stint playing cricket with Brisbane Heat, while Fox Sports Australia tweeted:

Billie Jean King was among the tennis greats offering congratulations to Barty, who displaced Japan's Naomi Osaka to reach number one.

she tweeted.

Barty, who began playing tennis as a child in the Queensland state capital Brisbane, has her eyes firmly on Wimbledon and told reporters her close-knit team would not be getting carried away with what had been achieved.

"We'll just be very boring, to be honest," she said when asked how they would celebrate. "We've got a big couple of weeks coming up; make sure we're ready to go, but we'll certainly be having a beer or two."

Tennis Queensland chief Mark Bloomfield said children "have a role model now".

"They have seen one of their own start as a five-year-old, learn here in Brisbane, go right through the ranks and come out as world number one proving that they can all do it," he told reporters.

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