Former World No 1 and 3-times Grand Slam champion Ashleigh Barty heads a long list of Australian sporting heroes on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, receiving the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 3 months after retiring from professional tennis at the age of 25.
I'm a very proud Australian and representing my country to the best of my ability has always been my priority. I hope to continue my contribution to our country, focusing on providing youth with sport and education opportunities and inspiring all young kids to go after their dreams. Ash Barty
“There are so many Australian people who do wonderful things for our country and I want to congratulate all of the other award recipients on being recognised for their contributions,” Barty said in a statement.
“On a personal level, I always try to uphold Australian values – being humble, respectful, kind and caring for others.”
Barty is recognised with an AO for distinguished service to tennis at the elite level, and to youth development programmes.
Ranked No 1 in the world since 2019, Barty won the Australian Open earlier this year, while her other Grand Slam victories include the French Open and Wimbledon singles as well as the US Open women’s doubles titles.
Announcing her shock retirement from tennis, the Queenslander said she no longer had the mental or physical drive to continue her reign as World No 1.
She remains content with her decision, and she hopes her latest honour, and her esteemed career, is a source of inspiration to others.
“I’m a very proud Australian and representing my country to the best of my ability has always been my priority,” she said.
“I hope to continue my contribution to our country, focusing on providing youth with sport and education opportunities and inspiring all young kids to go after their dreams.”
Barty is among a batch of sports luminaries recognised in Sunday’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List,inclduing women’s cricket captain Meg Lanning, men’s cricket larrikin Doug Walters and golfer are among other feted sports identities appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia.
Other sports identities featured in the honours list released on Sunday include Muriel Picton, who was Australia’s women’s cricket Test captain in the 1960s who also represented her nation in hockey.
Picton was appointed an AO, as were rugby union great Brendan Moon, who played 35 Tests for the Wallabies between 1978 and 1986, and Sandra McCaw, whose sporting achievements included four Australian women’s amateur golf titles between 1972 and 1984.
Shane Warne, who tragically died of a suspected heart attack while on holiday in Thailand in March this year at the age of 52, has been posthumously named an AO.
Warne is remembered ‘for distinguished service to cricket as a player, role model and commentator, to the community through charitable initiatives, and for philanthropic contributions’.
Meanwhile, Barty continued her unwavering support of charities as one of several celebrities on hand at the MCG in Melbourne on Monday, sliding into a pool of icy water to help raise awareness for Motor Neurone Disease.
Barty was joined by Eddie Betts, Rhonda Burchmore, Andy Maher, Jakara Anthony, Hamish Blake, Terry Daniher, Justin Langer, David Neitz, Bec Maddern, each in various costumes in front of a bumper crowd ahead of Collingwood’s game against Melbourne.
It was the eighth iteration of The Big Freeze, first taking place in 2014 – a brainchild of the FightMND charity, which was co-founded by AFL legend Neale Daniher, who continues to fight the disease.