Ash Barty wins The Don Award

  • Ash Barty wins The Don Award

Ash Barty wins The Don Award

Tennis world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has been awarded Australian sport's highest individual honor.

As such, she was named as the victor of the Don Award, beating off eight other athletes to become the first female tennis player to lift the gong, which is regarded as the most prestigious in the country.

Her outstanding year continued on Thursday night when she won The Don award at the Sport Australia Hall Of Fame annual dinner in Melbourne. The Don Award is presented to the sportsperson whose actions have inspired the nation both on and off-court.

"It was a decision I needed to make to take some time away from tennis... but I think coming back to tennis is the best decision I've ever made because to be honest I was a pretty very bad cricketer".

It's been a huge year for the tennis star, being the first Aussie to win a grand slam singles title in a whopping eight years. She's even about to finish the year in the number-one spot, which is no small feat.

In accepting the award, Barty reflected on her frustration with tennis during 2015-16, when she switched to cricket and played with the Brisbane Heat in the first season of the WBBL.

She will then return to Australia for the November 9-10 Fed Cup final against France in Perth.

Ashleigh Barty and partner Garry Kissick.

Other nominees for the prestigious award included fellow legend Dylan Alcott, NRL player Cooper Cronk and surfing world champ Stephanie Gilmore among others.

Pat Rafter is the only other tennis player to win the The Don in 2001.

"It's tremendous and to be thought of alongside some of Australia's great athletes, it's just awesome company to be alongside them".

There were seven inductions this year into the hall of fame - commentator Dennis Cometti, swimmer Matt Cowdrey, shooter Russell Mark, cyclist Robbie McEwen, swimmer Stephanie Rice, Cheryl Salisbury (soccer) and Emma Snowsill (triathlon).