Ashleigh Barty has crowned her superlative 2017 by picking up the Newcombe Medal - Australian tennis's highest honor - and immediately paid tribute to her doubles partner Casey Dellacqua for her support.
“She’s my best mate but I don’t think she quite understands how much of a massive impact she’s had on my on life,” Barty said.
“Bringing me back into the sport to be honest, she started the ball rolling again to finish unfinished business in doubles.
“Case is my best friend, my mum on tour, my shoulder to cry on through many times and she helped me through my darkest days.”
During their partnership, they have reached the final of every Grand Slam tournament.
The World No.17 returned to tennis in 2016 after an 18-month break in which she played professional cricket. Since then, she has achieved her highest-ever career ranking, becoming Australia's No.1 as well as winning her first WTA singles title in Malaysia in March and defeating four top 10 seeds on her way to the final of the Wuhan Open in September.
The Queenslander was nominated alongside Daria Gavrilova, who last week tipped her compatriot to win the prize, as well as ATP stars Nick Kyrgios, John Peers, and Jordan Thompson.