Tennis legend Rod Laver says that he was thrilled to see the way Ash Barty played at the French Open and is optimistic about the future of Australian tennis. Speaking to Australian television host Alan Jones, Laver says Barty is "totally different from all the other players.
It was just a thrill to see the way she played. It was just an amazing feeling to think here’s this girl, she’s not too tall but she has the ability and the guts to keep plugging away. She has a variety of shots, and that’s the one thing that makes her totally different from all the other players.
Ash has all the game and the competitive juice”. Barty won her first Grand Slam on the women's tour this year by winning the French Open and also won the season-ending WTA Finals, becoming the year-end World No.
1 player and earning over $16 million in prize money for her efforts during the year. Laver has recently completed a new book called "The Golden Era", along with Larry Writer which talks about the greatest period of tennis in Australia.
In the book, Laver also talks about fellow Australian legends of his time such as Margaret Court and Roy Emerson. Royalties from the sale of the book will go towards the development of tennis talent across Australia. Laver is considered one of the all-time greats in the history of tennis.
He is the only player to have won the calendar-year Grand Slam twice in his career - in 1962 and in 1969. He has won 11 Grand Slam singles titles in his career and was part of the Australian Davis Cup winning team on five occasions.
He also has a tournament named after him - the Laver Cup - where players compete in two teams - Team Europe and Team World.