Ashleigh Barty acknowledges the crowd's applause after downing Venus Williams at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, England on Friday. Picture: Nigel French/AP
Ashleigh Barty acknowledges the crowd's applause after downing Venus Williams at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, England on Friday. Picture: Nigel French/AP Nigel French

Barty to donate Fed Cup Heart Award cash to RSPCA

FRENCH Open champion Ashleigh Barty has been honoured with the Fed Cup Heart Award, becoming the first Australian winner of the International Tennis Federation gong.

The ITF Fed Cup Heart Award has "recognised players who have represented their country with distinction, shown exceptional courage on court and demonstrated outstanding commitment to their team during Fed Cup" since 2009.

Barty was nominated after her tie-winning efforts in Australia's 3-2 semi-final victory over Belarus in April.

She won both her singles matches in Brisbane, against Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka, and then teamed up with Sam Stosur for a crucial doubles victory that led Australia to its first Fed Cup final in 26 years.

"Playing for my country is always a privilege and Fed Cup weeks are my favourite time of the year. I'm honoured to have won the Fed Cup Heart Award for my role in our semi-final win," Barty said.

Barty revealed which charity would be the beneficiary of her reward.

"I'm looking forward to donating the $10,000 to my charity partner, the RSPCA. Animal welfare is close to my heart and I'm happy to help provide some extra support for the wonderful work the RSPCA do," she said.

Barty, ranked No.2 in the world, revealed she was looking forward to leading her country's charge in the Fed Cup final.

"Having the chance to play in (a) Fed Cup final is something I have always dreamt of and I'm so happy we'll be playing the final at home in Australia," the Roland Garros winner added.

"It will be another great opportunity to pull on the green and gold and work together with Alicia (Molik) and our whole team to hopefully get the ultimate win for Australia."

The Australian team will attempt to win their first Fed Cup title in more than 45 years when they host the final against France in Perth from November 9-10.

- AAP

News Corp Australia


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