Ash Barty Wimbledon party's huge impact on regional women's sport

CHEERING: Ballarat tennis players Marleen Gort and Milla Fraser are pumped ahead of Ash Barty's Wimbledon singles final on Saturday night. Pictures: Melanie Whelan
CHEERING: Ballarat tennis players Marleen Gort and Milla Fraser are pumped ahead of Ash Barty's Wimbledon singles final on Saturday night. Pictures: Melanie Whelan

The Ash Barty impact on grassroots sport is real. Half a world away from Wimbledon, the excitement of Barty's championship match was felt on the tennis courts of Central Victoria.

Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre 16-under girls' title holder Milla Fraser said the prospect of Barty just reaching the final added extra spark to her training - let alone Barty's three-set win against Czech rival Karolina Pliskova on Saturday night.

"Ash is such a big inspiration for everyone coming up playing tennis," Ms Fraser said. "She's so humble."

Federation University sports researcher Rochelle Eime said Barty's win could have massive impacts on female participation because she had shown what was possible. Barty is the first Australian woman to win a Wimbledon singles title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley 41 years ago.

"It's always the thing that you can't be what you can't see," Eime said. "Not just from the top-down but also the bottom-up, if you don't see enough women and girls playing at the grassroots."

CHEERING: Ballarat tennis players Marleen Gort and Milla Fraser are pumped ahead of Ash Barty's Wimbledon singles final on Saturday night.

CHEERING: Ballarat tennis players Marleen Gort and Milla Fraser are pumped ahead of Ash Barty's Wimbledon singles final on Saturday night.

This story Big Barty factor already impacts sport first appeared on The Courier.