THE ASH Barty impact is real.
Federation University sports researcher Rochelle Eime said Barty's dream-come-true Wimbledon victory can have massive ripple effects across the nation, including right here in Ballarat, because she has shown what is possible.
Barty became the first Australian woman to win the singles title in the All England Club's Grand Slam since Evonee Goolagong-Cawley 41 years earlier. The title was also a decade after Barty won the Wimbledon girls' singles crown.
Ms Eime, who has delved into sports participation during the pandemic, said Barty had proven to be humble, big on a full team approach to her game and had strong support around her when she needed to stop and take a break from the elite level.
"Her win is fantastic, especially to see more women and girls in the media because it's always the thing that you can't be what you can't see," Professor Eime said.
"That goes not just from the top-down but also the bottom-up, if you don't see enough women and girls playing at the grassroots.
"We've seen an increase in participation of females in male-dominated sport, but it's also needed in welcoming females to feel included in all sports."
ALMOST championship game time at the All England Club and half a world away the excitement of Ash Barty's Wimbledon final felt on courts across Australia.
Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre's reigning silver tournament 16-under girls' title holder Milla Fraser spent the morning having a hit with BRTC women's open singles champion Marleen Gort.
They say they definitely had a bit of extra Barty inspiration for training on Saturday. The pair hitting up on clay to fine-tune for winter pennant while Barty vies to become the first Australian woman to win on the world's most famous grass court in more than 40 years.
"Ash is such a big inspiration for everyone coming up playing tennis," Ms Fraser said. "She's so humble."
Barty is preparing to face Czech rival Karolina Pliskova for the Wimbledon title on Saturday, 11pm Ballarat time. She is the first Australian woman to reach the final since her childhood hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley, won her second title in 1980.
Former Ballarat resident Judy Dalton, who now lives in an independent retirement village in Melbourne, was a Wimbledon singles runner-up to Billie Jean King in 1968.
Barty, aged 25, won her sole Grand Slam title in the 2019 French Open.
Ms Gort said Barty had played well in a return to Roland Garros this year but she could hardly wait to see what Barty could do at Wimbledon.
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Ms Gort, a former college tennis player in the United States, said Barty was great for women's sport in Australia because she was so different in her physical build and attitude on the circuit.
"She also has one of the best slices in women's tennis. She's pretty inspirational," Ms Gort said.
"Ash mixes up her shots and hits a good ball - that's how I try to play."
Barty will wear a similar styled Wimbledon dress to Goolagong Cawley for the final in a tribute to her fellow Indigenous athlete and hero.
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