Ashleigh Barty, who stormed into the women’s singles final on Friday, held the potential to take the cricket world by storm. But tennis remained the first choice for the Australian, who beat 17-year old Amanda Anisimova in the French Open semi-finals.
The women’s singles eighth seed at the French Open had put her cricketing brilliance on display only when she opted for a recreational break from her first love – tennis.
Gunning for her maiden French Open title on Sunday, Ashleigh already has a grand slam title to her name – the US Open women’s doubles crown.
In her late teens, the age when youngsters aspire to play for their country, Ashleigh had decided to take a break from tennis as an 18-year-old in 2014 after having made to two grand slam finals as a doubles player.
She was then looking to enjoy “life as a normal teenaged girl and have some normal experiences”.
It was during this break that Ashleigh came across the Queensland’s women’s cricket team coach Andy Richards and impressed him with his skills with the willow while smashing the hard leather ball.
The break was soon over. Ashleigh returned to rule with a tennis racquet as she soon started winning tournaments. In a year, she had progressed from 250+ ranking to top 20 in both singles and doubles by the end of 2017.
Her best was yet to come. As she awaits her first Grand Slam singles crown tomorrow, Ashleigh has this year already upset the likes of Venus Williams, Johanna Konta, Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko.
Cricket remains a loser as the Aussie is taking the tennis world by storm. May be to make a comeback to cricket sometime in future as a Grand Slam champion.