Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty fought through depression and two career changes to make her place in the final of the French Open.
The 23-year-old is competing for her first singles Grand Slam title against Czech teenager Markéta Vondroušová tonight at 11 AM AEST.
A victory would be Barty the second highest ranked tennis player in the world.
Three years ago this would have been unlikely because her junior professional career turned out to be too much.
When he was depressed, Barty had no choice but to stop the sport indefinitely.
She moved to Melbourne and struggled with cricket. Destiny dragged her back to the court, where she realized she belonged.
A young Ash Barty clings to a trophy in 2002. The 23-year-old Australian fights for her first Grand Slam singles title
Ash Barty (left) pictured with one of her older sisters Sara (right)
Barty picked up a racket of four because & # 39; didn't want to play what she thought was a girl game & # 39;
Barty is the youngest child of Robert, a native Australian Ngarigo, and Josie, the daughter of English immigrants, and was born and raised in Ipswich, Queensland.
Her two sisters, Sara and Ali, played netball, but Barty picked up a racket of four.
This was because & # 39; did not want to play what she thought was a girl competition & # 39 ;, her father told Sydney Morning Herald.
Junior tennis coach Jim Joyce took Barty under his care after he noticed that she had a natural talent for the sport.
Barty was five when she arrived at Joyce & # 39; s court at the West Brisbane Tennis Center and was soon hit with players twice the age.
& # 39; The thing that stood out was – her hand and eye coordination was great – but it was her focus and concentration for that age, & # 39; Joyce said.
& # 39; She was equal to one of the nine and ten year olds, actually, as far as that goes.
& # 39; She was excellent. & # 39;
Joyce said that Barty's talent as an athlete was far-reaching and came from a family of golfers. She was also pretty with a club.
& # 39; She picked things up just as quickly, & # 39; Joyce said.
& # 39; Ash would have become a fantastic golfer … you should have seen her on a golf course.
Barty (right) and two-time Wimbledon winner Evonne Goolagong-Cawley talks to media at Brisbane International Tennis Center, July 6, 2011. Barty had won Wimbledon's girls' gangs
The teenager was then sent abroad, where she participated in international tours without her parents at the age of 14 (Barty is pictured second from the right)
Junior tennis coach Jim Joyce took Barty under his care after he noticed that she had a natural talent for the sport. Barty was five when she arrived at Joyce & # 39; s court at the West Brisbane Tennis Center and was soon hit with players twice the age of
& # 39; And she just wanted to play tennis, she didn't want to play team games.
& # 39; Her sisters played netball, she just wanted to play tennis. & # 39;
At the age of nine, Barty trained with boys six years older than her and at the age of twelve she played against adult men.
The teenager was then sent abroad, where she participated in international tours without her parents at the age of 14.
Barty remembered her first international tour in Europe where she was homesick.
She called her parents almost every night, but despite the struggle she managed to continue the games.
Barty shakes hands with Serena Williams during the French Open in recent years
Barty has been with her friend, PGA Trainee professional Garry Kissick, since 2017
Shown in December 2010: Barty is awarded as the female junior athlete of the year at the Newcombe Medal Awards. She is seen posing with Bernard Tomic
The 14-year-old was also invited to Las Vegas as a member of the Adidas development team for players where she was given the privileged opportunity to hang out with Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi.
& # 39; This journey has given me a lot of confidence and confidence and made me realize how to work and what sacrifices I have to make to be a good tennis player, & # 39; said Barty at the time.
At the age of 15, she met several milestones, participated in the Australian Open, achieved high-grade Grade 1 events in Malaysia and Belgium and achieved her only Grand Slam youth title at Wimbledon.
She became the second Australian to win the single girls' event after Debbie Freeman in 1980, and the first Australian girl to win a junior Grand Slam title since Jelena Dokic at the US Open in 1998.
Speaking to her win at Wimbledon, Barty said: “It was just too much – it went too far beyond tennis, beyond playing the game & # 39 ;.
She noticed that she is approaching a crossroads, uncertain about her future prospects in the field amid increasing media attention and pressure to succeed.
At the age of 15, Barty (shown in January 2019) met several milestones, participated in the Australian Open, achieved high-grade Grade 1 events in Malaysia and Belgium and managed to win her only Grand Slam youth title at Wimbledon
Barty is pictured in 2014 – the year she decided to take a continuous break from cricket
During the season in which she turned 17, Barty had only spent 27 days at home in the calendar year and in 2014, after the US Open, she made the critical decision to take a break from tennis
At the age of 16, Barty lived alone in an apartment in Melbourne's South Yarra.
During the season in which she turned 17, Barty had only spent 27 days at home in the calendar year and in 2014, after the US Open, she made the critical decision to take a break from tennis.
Her father Robert said he suffers from bipolar, manic depression and obsessive compulsive disorders, assuming he has passed on depression to Barty.
& # 39; It was too fast for me since I am very young at home, & # 39; she said in a later interview about quitting the sport.
& # 39; I wanted to experience life as a normal teenage girl and have some normal experiences. & # 39;
But with sport that clearly ran in her blood, Barty took up cricket instead and enjoyed great success.
Barty and Serena Williams are all smiling during the French Open in 2018
While sport was clearly in her blood, Barty started using cricket after he stopped playing tennis in 2014
Barty is the youngest child of Robert, an Ngarigo Indigenous Australian, and Josie (right), the daughter of English immigrants, and was born and raised in Ipswich, Queensland
Barty joined the Queensland Fire Squad in the women's national competition, with coach Andy Richards remembering that he was immediately impressed by her skills.
& # 39; Her skills from the moment she picked up a club were excellent from a coach's perspective – she never missed a ball during her first session, & # 39; he said.
But after a successful two-year professional cricket – which saw her play for a series of teams at high-profile events, including in the Women's Big Bash League – Barty made the courageous return to tennis in February 2016.
The reunion with tennis came after Barty went to watch her double teammate Casey Dellacqua in the Sydney International.
Dellacqua forced her into an empty court in the late afternoon, and Barty realized it was time for her to return to her first love.
& # 39; I used one of her rackets and I just said: & # 39; This is me. This is what I should do & # 39; & # 39 ;, she said.
Barty is the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia and calls herself a & # 39; very proud native woman & # 39;
Barty bats for Brisbane Heat in the Women's Big Bash League in December 2015
Barty celebrates after her victory in the French Open on Friday against Amanda Anisimova
During the 2017 Malaysian Open she won her first WTA singles title and ended up in the top 100 for the first time, finishing in the top 20.
If Barty wins on Saturday night, in 1973 she will be the first winner of the French Open singles in Australia since Margaret Court.
The world number eight will come in second place in the ranking if it beats Vondrousova.
She is the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia and calls herself a & # 39; very proud native woman & # 39 ;.
"Returning to my community is very important to me and I hope to inspire many more indigenous children to get active and enjoy their tennis," she said.
Barty has been with her friend, PGA Trainee professional Garry Kissick, since 2017.
If Barty wins on Saturday night, in 1973 she will be the first winner of the French Open singles in Australia since Margaret Court
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