Ashleigh Barty displays a Cricket shot in her Australian Open triumphant performance

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Ashleigh Barty recently won the Australian Open singles title and she became the first Australian player to win the title since 1978. During the fortnight that ended a 44-year wait, Barty displayed some unique shots which gave hints on the shots she learned during her short stint in Cricket, a sport that she pursuit taking break from Tennis. The kick serves aka “the hopper”, the one-handed slice, two-handed drive backhands, the forehand dripping with heavy topspin, risky drop shots, opportune volleys- these shots were on full-on display during the campaign.

Ashleigh Barty executes leg glance

During her practice, Ashleigh Barty casually tucked the tennis ball off her hip and displayed a textbook leg glance, a shot that requires expertise in executing in Cricket.

“It was a sweet little glance, wasn’t it?” laughed Andy Richards, cricket coach, proud Queenslander and a “fairweather tennis fan”. Richards, who trained Barty during her brief switch to cricket, gushed over his ward’s exploits at the Melbourne Park.

Back in 2015, Barty was a doubles contender and she reached Grand Slam finals three times and was a singles’ prospect, when she walked away from a sport she had been playing since she was 4. Barty was coaching kids when she was invited to speak at the national women’s cricket team dinner.

There, she told Queensland cricketers Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince and Beth Mooney: “I really wouldn’t mind giving cricket a go.”

“It was half a throwaway line, half-serious chat. The girls came back and told me,” says Richards, who was the coach of Queensland Fire and was putting together the team for Brisbane Heat for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash that year.

“I’d tried it with a few different sportspeople before so I thought we would give it a go. She came in and we just had a coffee and then I said okay, we’ll organise to have a hit and see what she looked like.”

On her debut for the Heat, Barty scored a 27-ball 39 ith one six in a match against the Melbourne Stars, the second highest score on her team. Barty announced her return to professional tennis in February a few weeks after the end of the WBBL season in 2016.

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