Ash Barty broke a 44-year wait for a home title on Saturday evening winning a hard-fought Australian Open wounds singles title over American Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2).
Chris O’Neil was there last Aussie to win the Melbourne Slam, in 1978, but it was Evonne Goolagong Cawley who made a surprise arrival to present Barty the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.
The 25-year-old was pegged back at 2-2 in the first set before breaking and jumping to a 4-2 lead – a lead she never gave up – to take the advantage.
But it was the second set that saw Barty show her quality and strength, as she came back from 5-1 down to close the deficit and level at 5-5.
The ensuing tiebreaker seemed like a formality as she blitzed her opponent, ending it with a loud roar of delight in 87 minutes.
Barty told TV host Channel 9 it was a “hell of a surprise” that Goolagong was there to present the trophy.
“I do not quite know how Craig kept that secret.
“I am really glad I did not know. I think I would have been under the pump.”
Barty heaped praise on her coach Craig Tyzzer afterwards.
“I trust Tyzzer with my life,” Barty said.
“He is the best coach in the world without a doubt, the way he has been able to give things to me that make it clear for me to then go out and try to do what I do.
“The way that he manages the whole team and brings everyone together, he is an exceptional human being, first and foremost and I am so incredibly lucky to have him as coach because he is change my career and life.”