MELBOURNE, Australia – Ashleigh Barty became just the second person to earn the Newcombe Medal in three successive years when she was announced as the winner of the 2019 prize on Monday.
The WTA World No.1, who also won the Junior Athlete of the Year Award on a trio of occasions before turning professional, enjoyed another stellar year, in which the highlights were a first major singles title at the French Open, victory at the WTA Finals and Tour titles in both Miami and Birmingham.
Having been honored as her country’s outstanding tennis player, beating competition from fellow WTA star Ajla Tomljanovic as well as ATP players Alex de Minaur and John Millman, and wheelchair tennis ace Dylan Alcott, she joins fellow Samantha Stosur as one of only two people to have claimed the title three years running.
“I’m incredibly grateful and very humbled to be here tonight,” the 23-year-old said. “This is not about individual athletes — it’s a night of celebration for everyone involved in tennis and everyone that’s a part of our tennis family. Congratulations to everyone else who’s in this room. It takes a village and we are a big tennis family. I’m very humbled to be here tonight.
“I’m extremely fortunate to have such an amazing support network around me. It’s very special for me tonight to have Mum, Dad and my very first coach in Jim Joyce here. They gave me the unconditional love and support time and time again — in all the bad times and all the good times, they’re always there.
“There were a few words they said to me: ‘I love to watch you play’. And when your Mum and Dad say that to you, when your coach says that to you, that makes your heart race a little bit.
“Honestly it’s been incredible. I’m very grateful that they’re here to share it with me as well.”
Craig Tyzzer, meanwhile, was recognized for the role he has played in Barty’s ascent to the top of the world game by taking the award for Coaching Excellence in the High Performance category.
Elsewhere, Stosur was also among the players to be hailed as she was given the Spirit of Tennis Award.
In a statement posted on social media, Tennis Australia explained why the 35-year-old won the award.
“Known for her blend of strength and grace, grit and determination, Samantha Stosur has been a role model for all Australian players for almost two decades, and it’s for this inspiring leadership that she is receiving the Spirit of Tennis Award,” it said.
The Newcombe Medal, which has been running for 10 years, celebrates excellence in all aspects of Australian tennis, from the very pinnacle of the sport down to club level.