Ashleigh Barty has become the first player to win the Newcombe Medal, the highest individual honor in Australian tennis, on five occasions.
Barty, 26, has won the award every year it has been presented since 2017, sharing it with ATP player Alex De Minaur in 2018 and with former wheelchair No.1 Dylan Alcott in 2021. (In 2020, there were no awards due to the Covid-19 pandemic.)
The former World No.1 ended her career this year with an unbeaten run during the Australian summer, culminating in a first Australian Open title and third Grand Slam trophy overall. Barty's run in Melbourne made her the first home champion in women's singles since Chris O'Neil in 1978. In March, she announced her retirement from professional tennis.
Our 2022 Newcombe Medallist🏅— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) December 12, 2022
Undefeated in both singles and doubles throughout the Australian summer, Ash Barty became the first local Australian Open women’s singles champion in 44 years. This is her fifth Newcombe Medal.
Congratulations, Ash! #Newks22 pic.twitter.com/LHG8shS1aC
"This has obviously been a very big year in my career and in my life," said Barty. "We've had exceptional change, we've had an amazing year of celebrating a journey of not only myself, but my team, and there is so much to be proud of.
"I stand here very proudly knowing that I absolutely fulfilled every ounce that I could to this beautiful sport that brought me so much more than I could have ever dreamt."
Barty beat out fellow WTA nominees Ajla Tomljanovic, a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and the US Open this year, and US Open mixed doubles champion Storm Hunter (née Sanders), as well as ATP players De Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell.
Great ambassadors of our game 💙 pic.twitter.com/oAsxEYLO6p— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) December 12, 2022
Fittingly, Barty also introduced Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who was presented with the Spirit of Tennis award. Barty has often cited Indigenous trailblazer Goolagong Cawley, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles between 1971 and 1980, as an inspiration. Nowadays, the Evonne Goolagong Foundation runs tennis development camps for Indigenous children across Australia.
Accepting the award from Barty, Goolagong Cawley said: "This certainly was a real surprise. Particularly coming from a really wonderful friend of mine. She wasn't just a great tennis player, she's a great person on and off the court and I'll love her forever."
Teenagers Talia Gibson and Taylah Preston were named Female Junior Athletes of the Year. Gibson, 18, rocketed from No.1200 to No.364 in the WTA Rankings in 2022 after compiling a 50-21 record, including three ITF singles titles. Preston, 17, ended the year as the junior No.12 and World No.606 after coming through qualifying to make her WTA main-draw debut in 's-Hertogenbosch.
Barty's coach Craig Tyzzer also received the Coaching Excellence - Performance award for the third time.