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Why Todd Woodbridge thinks Ash Barty should be Australian of the Year

3AW Mornings

Australian Ash Barty has won the biggest cheque in tennis history, with victory at the year-ending WTA Finals in China.

The world number one secured a straight-sets win over Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in the final on Sunday night.

The 23-year-old has pocketed $6.4 million as a result, the largest tournament prize money for any player – male or female – in tennis history.

But sports broadcaster and former tennis great, Todd Woodbridge, said the 23-year-old’s career is about much more than making money.

The Australian Open ambassador has called for Barty to be named Australian of the Year.

“A lot of people go ‘oh it’s great that you can win at sport and put money in your bank’, but she does a lot more than that,” he told 3AW’s Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

“Her indigenous background, the time that she spends up north, she’s been to the Tiwi Islands and more recently she’s been in Cairns trying to get kids out on the court, using sport as a great vehicle for health and to get them away from other activities that are not so healthy for them.

“And then, just a spokesperson for sport and about how to go about being humble with winning and in defeat.

“She is very real and there is nothing fake about what she’s doing.

“I think she covers so many bases.”

Woodbridge also heaped praise on Barty’s father.

“Her father, Rob, actually was a very good sportsman himself. He was Australian amateur golf champion,” he said.

“He comes along to our nationals, junior tournaments, 16 and unders. He goes and talks to the parents.

“It’s almost a compulsory session where he brings the parents in and explains the journey that they’re about to embark upon with their kids.”

Image: Getty/Lintao Zhang

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