World No.1 Ash Barty whitethorn person swept each earlier her en-route to the Australian Open final, but the Aussie has not ever been afforded the level of respect that her ranking suggests she should receive.
It was 3 years agone erstwhile the generation's champion women's player, Serena Williams, deed the Australian with a spectacular back-handed compliment, calling Barty "cute".
Williams was asked astir Barty being the satellite No.1, a ranking she has present held for 3 years running, and seemed surprised.
"Wow, that's great," the 23-time Grand Slam champion said backmost successful 2019.
"I deliberation Ash, I don't cognize anyone that has thing antagonistic to accidental astir her. She's similar the sweetest, cutest miss connected tour. She's truthful nice."
Three years connected from that comment, Barty has enactment unneurotic arguably the astir ascendant Grand Slam show successful caller memory, transforming herself into a bona-fide unit successful the women's game, alternatively than simply a "cute" performer.
"She was cute backmost then, but she's not cute now," erstwhile Australian pro Casey Dellacqua told Wide World of Sports' The Morning Serve. "She's tough, fierce and determined now."
"Back then, she was conscionable this small tacker and I deliberation we forgot however aged she was.
"Obviously done those inferior years she was susceptible and it was a existent situation for her to enactment done those years."
Barty's ascendant tally to this year's Australian Open last has travel with Williams sitting astatine location portion recovering from a limb injury.
The 25-year-old faces Williams' compatriot Danielle Collins successful her quest to triumph her 3rd Grand Slam title, with her erstwhile 2 coming since Williams past hoisted a Grand Slam trophy successful 2017.
The Australian star's dominance has resembled that of a premier Williams, prompting the question of who would triumph successful a blockbuster clash betwixt the 2 successful their respective heydays.
Australian tennis large Jelena Dokic said the existent satellite No.1 would person caused Williams immoderate discomfort, adjacent successful her premier years.
"I deliberation determination volition ever beryllium comparisons to Serena, particularly successful this procreation wherever she is the benchmark, and she's inactive not done," Dokic told The Morning Serve.
"They're some truthful unique, they play otherwise and they're some unthinkable champions. Ash has truly settled into this presumption of being the satellite No.1 for 3 years and has aggregate Grand Slam titles, and I deliberation she's really going to triumph a batch more.
"When it comes to their games, I deliberation it would beryllium a precise absorbing match-up. We cognize what Serena brings to the array with her powerfulness and her serve, and I deliberation Ash has the assortment to upset that bushed and to instrumentality distant a batch of that powerfulness and sorb it."
There person been galore superlatives sent Barty's mode during her tally to the final, but there's 1 connection that Dellacqua does not privation her tally to beryllium described as: "easy".
"I consciousness similar utilizing the connection 'easy' undermines however overmuch enactment Ash puts in, truthful I'm not overly comfy with that," she said.
Stream each match, each tribunal of the Australian Open unrecorded and escaped connected 9Now
"Sometimes successful matches Ash has been down successful games and she's conscionable had truthful overmuch clarity tactically connected what she needs to do.
"That doesn't travel overnight, that's been years and years of work. I cognize the enactment that Ash puts into her assemblage and into her mind."
Serena Williams whitethorn not person seen Barty arsenic a worthy No.1 successful the past, but erstwhile she makes her instrumentality to a tour, she'll instrumentality to a circuit the Aussie has made her precise own.