Good afternoon and welcome to day three of the Australian Open. How much do we love Ashleigh Barty? Let us count the ways:
- She’s pretty good at tennis.
- She had the bravery and self-awareness to ditch tennis for cricket when the former sport “became a bit of a slog for me”. The rest, as they say, is history.
- Her idea of celebrating a year in which she scaled the heights of her sport was to have a few beers on the couch.
- Where some players see ball girls and boys as banana-peeling fodder, she sees them as human beings and treats them as such.
- She is, by all accounts known to humanity, a thoroughly good person.
Luckily for us, Barty is in action today. The world No 1 takes on Slovenian Polona Hercog, ranked 47 places beneath, in the second round on Rod Laver Arena. That match isn’t far away at all and will be followed by second seed Novak Djokovic’s clash with No 146-ranked Japanese Tatsuma Ito.