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1-min read

Ashleigh Barty 'Grateful' and 'Humbled' to Win 'The Don' Award, Recognised as Top Australian Athlete

Ashleigh Barty became the first female tennis player to win 'The Don' award that is Australian sport's highest individual honour.

News18 Sports

Updated:October 11, 2019, 9:35 AM IST
Ashleigh Barty 'Grateful' and 'Humbled' to Win 'The Don' Award, Recognised as Top Australian Athlete
Ashleigh Barty is the first female tennis player to win 'The Don' Award. (Photo Credit: @ashbar96)

Ashleigh Barty, who won the French Open 2019 and is currently the top-ranked WTA player in the world, won 'The Don' award at the annual Sport Australia Hall of Fame dinner on Thursday night and was recognised as currently the top Australian athlete.

Barty became only the second tennis player to win the prestigious award with Pat Rafter being the last tennis player to win the award in 2001. 'The Don' award is Australian sport's highest individual honour.

After winning the award, Barty took to Twitter to express her gratitude over winning the award and thanked Australia's cricketing legend Sir Donald Bradman (after whom the award is named) for "inspiring" Australia.

"Thank you Sir Donald Bradman for inspiring a nation and teaching what the true meaning of sport is. I'm so grateful and incredibly humbled to win The Don award and to share a room with so many Australian Sporting Greats," Barty tweeted.

Earlier this year, Barty became the first Australian to win the French Open in 46 years and is now aiming to become the first Australian woman to end the season with the number one ranking since Margaret Court in 1973.

It comes only five years after Barty announced she was taking an indefinite break from tennis.

Speaking on Thursday night, Barty said that the lessons she learned during her 12-month hiatus, during which she played cricket professionally, were instrumental in her rise to the number one ranking.

In 1998, The Sport Australia Hall of Fame created 'The Don' Award, which is to honour a current Australian athlete or team who, by their achievements and example over the last 12 months, are considered to have had the capacity to most inspire the nation.

Athletes who have won the Award are not inducted into the Hall of Fame, however once they have retired from the highest level of competition, they become eligible for nomination, the same as all other athletes.

Wheelchair racer Louise Sauvage becomes the first Australian Paralympian to be elevated to legend status within the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

(With IANS inputs)

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