World No. 1 Ash Barty has added a ninth title to her resume after defeating Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in the Yarra Valley Classic final on Sunday.
But some tennis fans were most interested in the Queenslander’s “unusual” prize, the trophy featuring a wood carving of a wombat.
Following Barty’s acceptance speech, Channel 9 presenter Nick McArdle said: “I’m not quite sure where that trophy will be placed, whether it’s a kitchen item in terms of a chopping board, or finds its way into her trophy cabinet, but it is one of the most unusual trophies that we have seen throughout the tennis world.”
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The Yarra Valley Classic trophy was designed by Wamba Wamba man Ron Murray, and Barty is a worthy recipient considering her own Indigenous heritage.
Trophies for Melbourne Summer Series were designed by local Indigenous artists, with each singles champion trophy aligned to a native animal.
Similarly, the six Melbourne Summer Series tournaments were named to showcase key regions of Victoria impacted by last year’s devastating bushfires.
Noice, different, unusual. I thought for sure it was a roast chook on a platter at first. And then a roast wombat ?
— Rebecca Puddy (@RebeccaPuddy) February 7, 2021
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Barty went to another level in the Yarra Valley Classic final to down the red-hot Spanish star 7-6 6-4.
Despite not seeing competitive tennis for more than 11 months, Barty has recaptured the form that saw her emerge as a powerhouse in women’s tennis in recent years.
Muguruza had not even conceded more than three games in each of the sets she played in Melbourne this week, but Barty ensured she coughed up 40 unforced errors.
“We’re incredibly grateful to be out here playing,” Barty said after her victory.
“To all Melburnians, I feel for you guys. It’s been an exceptionally tough six, seven months and I have a lot of friends and family here.
“To my team, we’ve been through thick and thin and it’s been a little while between drinks for us, but I’m enjoying every second.
“I couldn’t get (back) on court quick enough in the last few weeks.”
Barty will enter her first round match at the Australian Open against Danka Kovinic on Tuesday full of confidence as one of the clear favourites to break through for her first win.