The Australian Institute of Sport Performance Awards has been honoring the most prominent Australian athletes since 1983. Todd Woodbridge and Todd Reid were among the winners in the past but tennis has never been in the spotlight as in 2019, with Ashleigh Barty conquering the world after winning the first Major crown at Roland Garros.
Returning to tennis three years ago, Ashleigh made giant steps towards the very top, settling into the top-20 already in 2017 and 2018 before making an assault on the throne in the season behind us. Barty was the most consistent player in 2019, winning titles in Miami, Roland Garros, Birmingham and the WTA Finals where she cemented the player of the year status.
As was expected, Ashleigh already claimed numerous awards, including the third Newcombe Medal honor, adding more recognition after winning three categories at the Australian Institute of Sport Performance Awards. Barty top the charts as the Female Athlete of the Year award, the ABC Sport Personality of the Year and Sporting Moment of the Year award for that triumph in Paris, becoming the first tennis player with these honors and hoping for more of the same in the season ahead of us.
Ashleigh will kick off the 2020 season in Brisbane and Adelaide, seeking the best possible preparation for the upcoming first Major of the season in Melbourne, where she should be among the favorites for the title. "We are a sporting nation, we love it and it is in our blood, so to receive the votes and the support from the public is amazing," Barty said.
"French Open was a highlight moment of the year, I really didn't think I would get into that position, particularly at Roland Garros, I never thought that was my Slam. That day in Paris for me was a perfect tennis match.
I felt calm, I felt relaxed and I had no idea that I would feel like that or that I should feel like that but it was an incredible moment and the perfect tennis match that I could have played on that day."