Ash Barty’s first round win at the Australian Open left former star turned Nine commentator Jelena Dokic holding back tears as she paid tribute to the world No.1.
Barty kick-started her 2022 Australian Open campaign with a comfortable win over Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1 at Rod Laver Arena.
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After the match, Dokic was on court to interview Barty and started by congratulating her on last year’s Grand Slam win at Wimbledon when she was overcome with emotion.
The crowd cheered as Dokic, a former world No.4, choked back tears while addressing Barty’s success.
“I want to congratulate you on your Wimbledon win, I speak for everyone here, everyone in Australia and around the world, particularly myself – thank you. You gave us so much joy last year,” Dokic said.
“You made us so proud… I’m getting goosebumps.
“I just want to hug you but I can’t.
“There are no words to describe what you have done, thank you for that.”
Barty became the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon since her idol Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, who first won the title exactly 50 years earlier.
“This is beautiful,” the world No.1 told Dokic.
“I’ve said it a few times, it’s felt like an eternity since I have been back on this beautiful court (Rod Laver Arena) and last year was just incredible, obviously highlighted by Wimbledon.
“It was a dream of mine and I was extremely fortunate that it came through.”
Barty will face Italian Lucia Bronzetti in the second round.
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