Wimbledon 2021 champion Ashleigh Barty played for WBBL side Brisbane Heat during hiatus from tennis

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With the win at the Centre Court in London, Barty became the first Australian woman to win the singles trophy at the All England Club since Evonne Goolagong in 1980. Barty – who has been inspired by Goolagong – even wore an outfit at Wimbledon that was a tribute to the dress Goolagong played in when she won the tournament for the first time in 1971. She’s only the third Aussie woman to have won a Wimbledon title after Goolagong and Margaret Court in the Open era.

Ashleigh Barty downs Karolina Pliskova to win maiden Wimbledon title

Barty (25) was also the junior champion at Wimbledon a decade ago. However, she then left the sport for nearly two years in 2014 because of burnout. During that period, Barty played professional cricket and even represented Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) side Brisbane Heat in 2015 in the inaugural season.

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Wimbledon: Barty dedicates dream SW19 triumph to Goolagong Cawley

Barty, who had no formal training in the sport, was a right-handed batter and played a total of 10 matches. Her highest score was 39 for the Heats. She had impressed with her batting efforts in the domestic circuit with her performance for Queensland Fire, in Queensland.

She even played for the Western Suburbs District Cricket Club, a local team that competes in Brisbane’s Women’s Premier Cricket Twenty20 league. In her second game for the side, Barty scored 63 from 60 balls and even picked up 2 for 13 from four overs.

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She played 13 matches for Western Suburbs, slammed a century, and averaged 42.4 runs while took eight wickets. It was her performance which played a vital role in the team’s win in the league’s grand final. Barty ended up as the team’s highest scorer in the final after hitting 37 from 39 balls.

However, she eventually realised that cricket wasn’t her calling and decided to return to her other sport and went on winning her first grand slam in 2019 when she defeated Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets.

While talking about her cricket career in 2019, Barty termed it an amazing period of her life. “It truly was an amazing period of my life,” Barty had said in an interview. “I met an amazing group of people who couldn’t care less whether I could hit a tennis ball or not.

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“They accepted me, and they got to know Ash Barty. They got to know me. I still have those relationships to this very day. I got an amazing amount of messages over the last couple of days from those cricket girls who were some of my best friends.

“The way they are accepting of someone new coming into their locker room, into their dressing room, and into their sport was amazing. They are truly an incredible group of girls that I know I’ll have a relationship with for the rest of my life and a friendship with for the rest of my life,” she added.

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