Following more than a one a half year hiatus from the WTA Tour, Ash Barty stormed back into action last July and reached the semifinals in Eastbourne. Despite reaching three major doubles finals in 2013, Barty decided to try her hand at professional cricket in Australia in 2015
This August in Cincinnati, I asked Barty about this move: "For me, I just needed to take some time and refresh, be myself a little bit. I wasn't expecting to go into cricket. It just sort of came up for me. Obviously I'm very happy now, back playing tennis. I'm happy and healthy and playing well."
To open her 2017 campaign and first full season on the WTA Circuit since 2014, Barty took a set from world #1 Angelique Kerber in Brisbane. Barty continued her good form and defeated two top 50 players in the opening rounds of the Australian Open.
Next, Ash Barty would win her first career WTA title in Kuala Lumpur as she won 14 of 15 sets en route to the title in March. However, Barty would record a couple of the biggest wins of her career in the summer months. At Birmingham, she would defeat eventual Wimbledon Champion Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals and Venus Williams in the second round in Cincinnati.
Following her win over Williams, Barty elaborated: "It really is a privilege to be able to share the court with Venus. She's an amazing champion, and how she's still playing so well, still making slam finals is, yeah, it's amazing. To be able to share the court with her and play well today, it was really exciting."
"Oh, I think just massive, massive amounts of confidence. To be able to beat a champion like Venus is just really cool, and I think that, you know, today we played really well and were able to execute on a big stage.
It's never easy playing someone in their home country, and I think for me I didn't really think about that too much today. But no, it was just a privilege for me to be able to share the court with Venus. I can now say I have played both Venus and Serena, which I think is pretty cool in a career in itself."
Later in 2017, Barty would reach the final in Wuhan. She would defeat Karolina Pliskova, who would reach world #1 in 2017, in the quarterfinals and 2017 Roland Garros Champion Jelena Ostapenko in the semifinals.
Ash Barty also reach the Roland Garros doubles final with partner Casey Dellacqua - the pair have now reached all four major finals in doubles.
Barty closes 2017 as world #14 - she started the year at #325.