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.
Ash Barty presents the 2020 AFL premiership cup to Trent Cotchin.Credit:Getty Images
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.”
Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin was all smiles watching Ash Barty in action at the Australian Open last year.Credit:Getty Images
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.
“We just wish her all the very best. She is a proud Richmond girl. We will be right behind her. The boys will certainly be up and watching that game with a lot of interest. Hopefully, she can raise that trophy.”
While the 2019 French Open champion has the skills and game plan to again flourish in a grand slam final, Hardwick said it was Barty’s demeanour which stood out.
“I think the one thing about Ash, and I heard the Australian opponent she beat the other day (say this), she is just so authentic in the way she goes about it,” he said.
“The way she plays the game is the way we want it to be played. She takes it in her stride but she is so authentic in the way she operates and who she is.
“I think she has learnt a lot from us and we certainly have learnt a hell of a lot off her as well. She is a great competitor first and foremost, so it makes her the very best in the business.”
Every match of the Wimbledon finals is available to stream live and ad-free on Stan Sport with select games on 9GEM.
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