Australian sporting greats cheer on Barty

Indigenous sporting champions Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Cathy Freeman were on hand to celebrate Ash Barty's Australian Open title.

ASHLEIGH BARTY.
ASHLEIGH BARTY. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Ash Barty was overjoyed by the surprise appearances of fellow Indigenous idols Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Cathy Freeman to share in the celebration of her famous Australian Open triumph.

The 25-year-old world No.1 captured the heart of the nation like few other athletes since Freeman at the Sydney Olympics with her breakthrough victory at Melbourne Park.

She celebrated courtside with former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua after championship point before Goolagong Cawley was called down from the stands to present the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

"Hell of a surprise," Barty said of seven-time grand slam singles champion Goolagong Cawley's role in the ceremony.

"To be honest, I'm really glad that I didn't know because I think I would have been under the pump, I would've been feeling it.

"I haven't seen her since this time last year so we've got a few more hugs to celebrate. Unbelievable to see her."

Freeman's 400m gold medal run in 2000 inspired a generation of Australians, with Barty just four years old at the time.

The Olympic legend was caught on television grabbing her mobile phone to capture Barty's crowning moment.

"Looking up at the end, seeing Cathy, she is an inspiration. She's been an inspiration to so many people all around the globe," Barty said.

"But for our heritage, for our family, she is just the best. To be able to share that tonight with Evonne Goolagong and Cathy, a night I will never forget."

Dellacqua, sitting courtside in her television commentary role, was first on hand to congratulate Barty, who roared to the sky on winning championship point before heading straight towards her close friend.

They shared an embrace and later celebrated with beers - Corona, Barty's drink of choice - on live television as the new champion completed media commitments.

Barty and Dellacqua made three grand slam doubles finals without success before Barty snared her first major singles title at the French Open in 2019.

"There would not be any other person that I want sitting literally direct across from me when I was on the court, trying not to look at Casey," Barty said.

"Looking around trying to look everywhere but at Casey ... she changed my life.

"She brought me into the sport again and allowed me to explore, to grow as a person, and I love her."

Barty's close-knit team features coach Craig Tyzzer, manager Nikki Mathias, mindset coach Ben Crowe, trainers Mark Taylor and Matthew Hayes, Alicia Molik and trusted physio Melanie Omizzolo, who nursed an injured Barty through last summer before her triumphant Wimbledon campaign.

They have all been with the Queenslander over the past six years.

Barty's parents Rob and Josie, sisters Sara and Ali, and fiance Garry Kissick were all in her courtside box.

"I'm so lucky to have so many people here that love me, support me," Barty said.

"It's pretty bloody special that Mum, Dad and my sisters are here.

"I pretty rapt with that, that they could come down (to Melbourne) today.

"I'm an incredibly fortunate and lucky girl to have so much love in my corner.

"We started together right from the start in this second part of our career and we did it all together.

"No one's changed from our team. It's been incredible. I love you guys to death, you are the absolute best in the business and I can't thank you (enough) for all the time and love you put into me."

Wheelchair wizard Dylan Alcott and Richmond AFL triple-premiership captain Trent Cotchin, who has become close with Tigers fanatic Barty in recent years, were on hand to congratulate the champion in the bowels of Rod Laver Arena after she exited the court.

Barty also thanked the adoring crowd for their raucous support over a fortnight when she did not drop a single set.

"As an Aussie, the most important part of this tournament is being able to share it with so many people and you guys today in the crowd have been nothing shy of exceptional," Barty said.

"This crowd is one of the most fun I've ever played in front of and you guys brought me so much joy out here today.

"You relaxed me, you forced me to play my best tennis and against a champion like Danielle I know I absolutely had to bring that today."