Barty on track for top gong

World No.1 a hot chance for premier Aussie ten­nis award

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - LAU­REN WOOD

THE Barty party that has been in full swing through­out 2019 is ex­pected to con­tinue at tonight’s New­combe Medal.

World No.1 Ash Barty is one of five nom­i­nees for the top in­di­vid­ual award in Aus­tralian ten­nis, with the star hotly tipped to cap her stel­lar year with an­other gong.

Barty, 23, is try­ing to claim a third con­sec­u­tive medal af­ter shar­ing hon­ours with Alex De Min­aur last year, having claimed four sin­gles ti­tles — in­clud­ing the French Open and re­cent WTA fi­nals — and surg­ing to the top rank­ing.

She is the first fe­male Aus­tralian to fin­ish the season as world No. 1.

“It’s been an in­cred­i­ble 12 months for me and my team and it’s an hon­our to be nom­i­nated for the New­combe Medal along­side an amaz­ing group of play­ers,’’ Barty said when she was nom­i­nated last month. “We’ve all had a great year and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to cel­e­brat­ing with them.”

The Queens­lan­der — who is nom­i­nated along­side De Min­aur, Dy­lan Al­cott, Ajla Toml­janovic and John Mill­man will at­tend tonight’s event at Crown Pal­la­dium — is se­cond-favourite to win the Aus­tralian Open in Jan­uary.

For­mer world No. 4 Je­lena Do­kic yes­ter­day de­clared that Barty could “def­i­nitely win” the year’s first grand slam, while Ten­nis Aus­tralia chief Craig Ti­ley said the sum­mer would prove to be an ex­cit­ing one for Aus­tralia.

“It’s the first time in 17 years that Aus­tralia will have a No. 1 player com­ing into the Aus­tralian Open,” he said.

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