Ashleigh Barty the clear favourite to win a third consecutive medal

Barty has been nominated for the Newcombe Medal – awarded annually to Australia’s most outstanding elite tennis player and ambassador for the sport – alongside de Minaur, Dylan Alcott, John Millman and Ajla Tomljanovic. If Barty’s on-court feats weren’t already enough, she is more than ably filling her role as an ambassador for her chosen sport and women’s tennis in particular.

De Minaur, 20, could consider himself a touch unlucky not be in the mix for outright honours in 2019 after sharing the Newk with Barty last year.

Alex de Minaur with his medal last year. Credit:Justin McManus

He again made considerable inroads to achieve his current ranking of 18 – a career-high for Australia’s highest ranked man – won three titles and achieved his best grand slam result by reaching the US Open fourth round.

Each of the nominees can point to a year of progress or notable achievements in some way or another.

Millman had a firm footing inside the world’s top 50 for a second consecutive season, wheelchair tennis champion Alcott added three more majors to his kitbag – the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles – while Australia’s second best female player Tomljanovic reached a career-high ranking of No.39 and represented Australia for the first time, making her debut in the Fed Cup final against France.

John Millman in Japan.

John Millman in Japan. Credit:Getty Images

But it’s bound to be Barty’s night, ahead of January’s Australian Open where she will strive to become the first local winner – either male or female – in more than 40 years.

The Newcombe Medal may not be Barty’s final honour in 2019 either. She is one of five nominees for the WTA Player of the Year award – along with US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Wimbledon winner Simona Halep, Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka and world No.2 Karolina Pliskova.

Given her status as the leading player in women’s tennis and a convincing winner at the recent WTA Finals in Shenzhen, Barty seems to have a sound case for that award too.


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