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Barty inspiring Indigenous players as she heads to Wimbledon finals

Tennis has been an integral part of Aboriginal woman Mikayla Zahirovic’s life since she was five years old.

Now 18, Zahirovic says Ngarigo woman Ash Barty – the first Australian woman to make the Wimbledon finals in more than 40-years – has inspired her to push ahead with a career in the sport.

Mikayla Zahirovic, right, with Ash Barty, whose success as an Indigenous woman she says is inspirational.

Mikayla Zahirovic, right, with Ash Barty, whose success as an Indigenous woman she says is inspirational.Credit:Getty

“It makes me so happy to see not only another young Australian player, but for her to be Indigenous as well,” Zahirovic said.

World No. 1 Barty defeated German Angelique Kerber in straight sets in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Friday morning, Sydney time.

Barty is now following in the footsteps of Wiradjuri woman Evonne Goolagong Cawley, the last Australian woman to make it to the finals – and win – 41 years ago.

“It just gives me that hope that if I really wanted to do something and I put all my time and effort into something, anything is possible,” Zahirovic said.

“Being an Indigenous player myself there are just so many opportunities that can come about and Ash has really shown that if you really put your mind to something you can do whatever you want.”

Zahirovic isn’t alone according to the co-chair of the national NAIDOC Week Committee, Yawuru woman Shannan Dodson.

“You can safely say a lot of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community would be really proud of her today and I think a win for her is a win for all of us,” Ms Dodson said.

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