Richmond captain Trent Cotchin says he is incredibly proud of Ashleigh Barty and the “lessons” she has taught the world, as the Australian tennis star prepares for her maiden Wimbledon final on Saturday night.
Barty, 25, is a passionate Tigers supporter and she and Cotchin have a strong friendship. Barty was even given the honour of presenting the premiership cup to Cotchin after the Tigers had beaten Geelong in the season decider at the Gabba last year.
Cotchin and Tigers coach Damien Hardwick were delighted on Friday after Barty had claimed a straight sets semi-final win over German Angelique Kerber, becoming the first Australian woman since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980 to reach the Wimbledon final.
“It is an incredible achievement making it through to a Wimbledon final. It’s on my bucket list just to attend, let alone play in a final. To say that I am incredibly proud of her is an understatement,” Cotchin said.
“But I think what makes me most proud about Ash is the fact that she just, obviously, has amazing talent and shows such a will to compete and often even when the chips are against her sometimes. “But I just love the person she is and the lessons she is teaching the world everyday when she shows up as a human being, not a human doing.”
Hardwick joked on Friday that he would send Barty a message or two about her technique before the Queenslander faces Czech Karolina Pliskova.
“It’s very exciting, especially Wimbledon, it’s such a prestigious event,” he said.
“She is a proud Tiger and has been a part of our premiership runs. I will send her a few tips about how to get that backhand going and that sort of thing.