• Ash Barty with Cathy Freeman and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley following her Australian Open win. (Tennis Australia)Source: Tennis Australia
The Ngarigo woman recorded a video message after being told of her win, saying she can't wait to continue her contribution to children's education.
Jodan Perry

2 Jul 2022 - 10:27 PM  UPDATED 2 Jul 2022 - 10:27 PM

Former world no.1 tennis player Ash Barty has been named the 2022 NAIDOC Person of the Year at the annual awards ceremony.

The Ngarigo woman, who retired from the sport earlier this year after claiming her third grand slam title, recorded a video message congratulating all the winners and also saying she cannot wait to continue contributing to children's education.

Barty has released a series of children's books called 'Little Ash' which she says are inspired by her niece and nephew.

She is currently in the United States playing in the Icons Series golf tournament. Her family, including mother Josie, sister Sarah and father Robert were in attendance at the awards ceremony in Melbourne.

Little Ash: Barty's new books inspired by niece and nephew
The former tennis world no.1 hopes to encourage a new generation of young readers with the six-book series.

In the acceptance speech, Robert Barty spoke of how much the Wimbledon and Australian Open wins meant to Ash, and highlighted her relationship with mentor Evonne Goolagong-Cawley.

"It was a perfect storm, 10 years since Ash won junior Wimbledon, and it was NAIDOC Week, and she ended up winning Wimbledon," he said

"Fast forward 6 months she gets to the Australian Open and we had an inkling that tennis was not guna be around for a long time for Ash and she wanted to go out as high as she possibly could."

Mr Barty went on to articulate how special it was for his daughter to have her mentor on hand to present her the championship trophy in Melbourne and also the moment she got to share after, with both Evonne and Cathy Freeman.

"She thinks that is one of the best photos she has got in her album," he said.

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