World number one Ashleigh Barty said it was a ‘little bit surreal’ after she won the Australian Open women’s title on Saturday night by defeating Danielle Collins in the final.
The top-seed became the first home winner of the Australian Open since Chris O’Neil in Kooyong in 1978 after holding off maiden Grand Slam finalist Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6(2) in Melbourne.
“It was a little bit surreal,” Barty said after the win.
“I think I didn’t quite know what to do or what to feel, and I think just being able to let out a little bit of emotion, which is a little bit unusual for me. Being able to celebrate with everyone who was there in the crowd, the energy was incredible tonight.
“Being able to understand how much work my team and I have done behind the scenes and over the last few years, to get to this point to be able to have this opportunity was really special. I think it just kind of all came out at once – a really, really special moment.”
Barty’s Australian Open victory is her third Grand Slam title after winning Roland Garros in 2019 and Wimbledon last year.
“I honestly just thought how lucky am I that I’ve got so many people here that love me for me, and got to experience this with me. Because I was gutted when mum and dad and some of my team couldn’t be there in Paris and in London.
“I think to be able to have almost everyone here was really, really special, and to do it at home and to be able to do it with them experience it with them was really special. Yeah, mum was always going to be the first one that I gave a hug to,” the world number one added.
The 25-year-old didn’t lose a set en route to lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup for the first time and extended her head-to-head record over Collins to four wins from their five encounters.