World no. 1 Ashleigh Barty was the player to beat in 2019, claiming her first Major crown and lifting the WTA Finals trophy to wrap up a historic season on the WTA throne. Leading his country in the Fed Cup, Barty became the first player with six victories in live World Cup rubbers in the first two ties of this year's campaign, helping Australia to beat the USA and Belarus, setting the final clash against France in Perth and hoping to deliver the first trophy since 1974.
There, Ashleigh took down Caroline Garcia in the second rubber, leveling the score at 1-1 before losing both matches on Sunday and missing the opportunity to earn another notable crown in what was already a spectacular year.
Ajla Tomljanovic pushed Australia 2-1 in front before Kristina Mladenovic prevailed against Barty in the deciding set tie break, leveling the score at 2-2 and stepping up on the court again with Caroline Garcia to beat Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur in straight sets and steal the crown, the first one for France since 2003.
Despite this setback, Ashleigh enjoyed a great season, hoping for more of the same next year and to lead her country towards the title in Budapest during the first Fed Cup Finals in April. "I wouldn't want to be sitting here with anyone else," Barty said.
"It's been a fantastic journey, an amazing time of year for us. To be able to be in a Fed Cup final is very precious, we will cherish it and it will drive us more for next year. Playing in front of almost 14,000 Australians for me is incredible and it's a special time of my life.
I think each Fed Cup tie that we've had in Australia is gaining more and more attention and exposure. I think you can see how much it means to all of us and it's bitterly disappointing to be sitting here. I think it's going to be a tough one.
This is something that all of us have been looking forward to for six months. Now it's about resting, recovering and reflecting on the year that's been, for me. But I think for all of us, just in a Fed Cup specific point of view, the journey that we've been on is simply remarkable in the last two years.
I fought as hard as I could, hoping that I made my team proud. I hope that I did all Australians proud because I fought with everything I had left. There were things that I would have liked to have done a little bit differently but I think overall, I still have no regrets.
It's been an incredible season for me. I fought with everything, I've given everything that I absolutely could for this team."