Ash Barty claims fifth Newcombe medal despite retirement from tennis | Ash Barty

Ash Barty has hailed her record fifth consecutive Newcombe medal as the ideal exclamation mark on her decorated tennis career. Barty broke the Australian Open’s 44-year local title drought, after reigning in Adelaide to complete an undefeated summer, and was crowned Australian tennis’s player of 2022, despite her shock retirement in March.

“I stand here very proudly knowing that I absolutely fulfilled every ounce that I could to this to this beautiful sport and it brought me so much more than I could have ever dreamed,” Barty said.

The 26-year-old relished receiving the award in front of her family at the Australian Tennis Awards ceremony in Melbourne on Monday.

“It’s obviously an amazing way to cap off what has been an incredible journey,” Barty told reporters. “The journey of a lifetime, the journey of me chasing after my dreams and exploring what was possible out in the world.”

The former world No 1’s brilliant summer culminated with her victory over American Danielle Collins in the Melbourne Park final to complete a rare seven-match grand slam campaign without dropping a set.

In her magic January, Barty recorded 11 singles and four doubles victories. She also claimed the Adelaide International singles title and combined with Storm Hunter (nee Sanders) to sweep the doubles trophy.

Barty has now added to her previous Newcombe medal triumphs in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021, after Covid-19 wiped out Australian tennis’s night of nights in 2020. The 26-year-old has twice shared the honour but has now won her third outright medal.

Nick Kyrgios, Ajla Tomljanovic, Alex de Minaur, Wimbledon doubles champions Matt Ebden and Max Purcell and Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup standout Hunter were the other nominees.

Barty’s fifth Newcombe medal caps off a brilliant career, which included three singles grand slams: the 2019 French Open, 2021 Wimbledon and her Melbourne Park triumph, as well as the 2018 US Open doubles title with CoCo Vandeweghe.

The 26-year-old, who has emphatically ruled out a comeback, won the medal from a fine field. In any other year, Kyrgios, the 2014 “Newk” winner, would have a genuine claim. He made a surging run to the Wimbledon final, only to be denied by Novak Djokovic, but also had a career-best quarter-final showing at the US Open, won a seventh ATP title and claimed six top-10 scalps.

Kyrgios also won the Australian Open doubles title with Thanasi Kokkinakis, made the ATP Finals in doubles and finished as the country’s top-ranked singles and doubles player. Australia’s new top women’s singles player Tomljanovic was also recognised among the nominees for reaching the quarter-finals of both the US Open and Wimbledon.

Earlier in the evening, Australian tennis great Evonne Goolagong Cawley was awarded the Spirit of Tennis Award, presented by Barty, for her work with the Evonne Goolagong Foundation.

“I just wanted to say how proud I am to be here tonight,” Goolagong Cawley said. “And getting this award was a real surprise, I must admit, and from someone who I just absolutely adore.”

Established in 2005, the foundation’s mission is to improve health and educational outcomes for young Indigenous people, using tennis as a vehicle.