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Ashleigh Barty awarded 2017 Newcombe Medal

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Ashleigh Barty (Qld) has won her first Newcombe Medal tonight. Australia’s top-ranked tennis player was awarded tennis’ top honour by legend John Newcombe at the annual awards ceremony at Crown Palladium in Melbourne.

The win caps off a breakout 12 months for Barty where she finished the year ranked at No.17. Barty said she was honoured to win the prestigious award.

“To win the Newcombe Medal is quite special and it’s the cherry on top of this amazing year to have this medal around my neck,” Barty said. “It’s a special night, it has been an amazing year and it was very nice for ‘Tyzze’ (Craig Tyzzer) my coach to be recognised as well.”

Tyzzer was presented with the Coaching Excellence – High Performance award this evening.

Newcombe congratulated Barty on the achievement.

“Ash exceeded everyone’s expectations after coming from being ranked outside the top 200 in the world and within 12 months she zoomed into the top 20,” Newcombe said. “I first saw her play in the Wimbledon juniors and she’s come a long way since then.”

The Queenslander’s highlight of the year came at the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur where she took out her first WTA singles title.

Barty also reached the final at both Wuhan and Birmingham, where she defeated top-10 players Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta, Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko. This is the second time Barty has been nominated for the award, after she and doubles partner Casey Dellacqua were nominated as a pair in 2013.

Barty takes out the award after edging out fellow nominees Daria Gavrilova (Vic), Nick Kyrgios (ACT), John Peers (Vic) and Jordan Thompson (NSW).

The Newcombe Medal is the premier award presented on a night that recognises players, coaches, clubs, communities, volunteers and officials for their service to the sport. The awards ceremony has been held annually since 2010.

A highlight of the evening’s celebrations was the presentation of the Spirit of Tennis Award to the former Victorian Premier John Cain who was instrumental in the development of the Melbourne Park precinct.

Alex De Minaur (NSW) was named Male Junior Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row, while Destanee Aiava (Vic) collected Female Junior Athlete of the Year.

Archie Graham (Qld) was awarded the Most Outstanding Athlete with a Disability.