Carla La Tella

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Tue, 18 Jan, 2022

“Proud of my heritage”: Barty’s emotional speech

“Proud of my heritage”: Barty’s emotional speech

Image: 9News

Former tennis star turned commentator Jelena Dokic became emotional and teared up as she spoke to Ash Barty for her on-court interview after defeating Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 6-0 6-1 in just 54 minutes.

Much like the rest of the country, Dokic is clearly a big-time Barty supporter, as she found it unmistakably difficult to keep her composure as she chatted on-mic with the superstar on Centre Court after her win, where she immediately recalled another of Barty's victories.

“I want to first congratulate you on your Wimbledon win. I think I speak — not I think, I’m sure — I speak for everyone here, everyone in Australia, around the world, particularly myself — thank you,” Dokic said.

“You gave us so much joy watching that last year. You made us so proud. I get goosebumps right now. I just want to hug you but I can’t.

“There are no words to describe what you’ve done so thankyou for that.

“Now I’m going to lose all my questions.”

Then it was Barty's turn to speak, as she talked about her Indigenous heritage while three young fans waved the Australian Aboriginal flag from the stands.

“I think I’m my most comfortable self when I’m out on the court … I’m a very, very proud Indigenous woman. I love my heritage, I love to celebrate my heritage,” she said.

“It’s what connects me to all of you here today. It’s what connects me to the land.”

The exchange melted hearts. Tennis writer Prajwal Hegde tweeted: “Jelena Dokic’s on-court interview of Ash Barty — Wimbledon, Indigenous heritage, expression — was outstanding. The world No. 1 is Australia’s and is much loved.”

It’s not the first time Dokic has welled up speaking about Barty. After the 25-year-old won Wimbledon last year, Dokic became emotional on live TV as she praised the role the Queenslander’s parents have played in raising her to become such an admirable role model.

“I just want to get this out before I fall apart. So give me 15 seconds,” Dokic told Nine in July.

“I want to give a shout out to her parents, obviously Josie and Rob, because people underestimate the importance of family. She talks about that all the time.

“And as someone who didn’t have that support, it is so important. This will set an example for parents in Australia and around the world, not just how to raise a champion but a genuinely wonderful human being."

“This is how you support them. You don’t pressure them, you’re there for them and this is why she is there, so big shout out to them, well done.”