Sport Tennis Ashleigh Barty claims Newcombe Medal

Ashleigh Barty claims Newcombe Medal

Ash Barty
Ashleigh Barty has a brilliant 2017. Photo: AAP
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Ashleigh Barty has won the Newcombe Medal as Australia’s outstanding tennis player of 2017.

The 21-year-old joined grand slam champions Lleyton Hewitt and three-time recipient Samantha Stosur on the honour roll after an incredible comeback season featuring three WTA Tour finals and her maiden top-level title in Malaysia.

After starting the year as the No.271 in the world, Barty soared more than 250 spots to 17th in the rankings, the highest of any Australian singles player.

As well as making finals in Kuala Lumpar, Birmingham and Wuhan, Barty was runner-up in the French Open doubles with Casey Dellacqua after the duo became the first all-Australian women’s pairing in the open era to reach the title match at all four grand slam events.

The Queenslander recorded five top-10 wins in total and her scalps included Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber, who all enjoyed stints atop the rankings in 2017, as well as grand slam champions Venus Williams and Jelena Ostapenko.

Barty beat fellow nominees Daria Gavrilova, Nick Kyrgios, John Peers and Jordan Thompson to claim the medal on Monday night in a ceremony in Melbourne.

As well as Hewitt and Stosur, others to have won the Newcombe Medal since its inception in 2010 are Kyrgios, Sam Groth and wheelchair ace Dylan Alcott.

OTHER 2017 TENNIS AUSTRALIA AWARD WINNERS

Spirit of tennis: John Cain
Coaching excellence, high performance: Craig Tyzzer
Coaching excellence, club: Helen Rice (Belair, SA)
Coaching excellence, talent development: Luke Bourgeois (Homebush, NSW)
Female junior athlete of the year: Destanee Aiava (Berwick, Vic)
Male junior athlete of the year: Alex De Minaur (Sydney, NSW)
Most outstanding athlete with a disability: Archie Graham (Ipswich, Qld)
Volunteer achievement award: James Edwards (Perth, WA)
Most outstanding 35+ tennis senior: Ros Balodis (Canberra, ACT)
Excellence in officiating: Emma Walter (Swinger Hill, ACT)
Most outstanding club: Boroondara Tennis Centre (Vic)
Most outstanding Australian ranking tournament: Melbourne Wheelchair Tennis Open 2017 (Vic)
Most outstanding professional tournament: Mildura Grand Tennis International 2017 (Vic)
Most outstanding school: Riverton Primary School (Riverton, WA)

-AAP