Ash Barty has confessed that she’s been on the receiving end of “bitter racism” after finding out about her Indigenous heritage.
In her autobiography, My Dream Time, which will be published on November 2, Barty opens up about the moment she found out about her family’s past.
The former tennis player said it was a difficult moment when her father searched for the truth and eventually told Barty and her sister which then led to “vile racism”.
“I’ve seen glimpses and tasted the faintest bitter edge of racism” she wrote.
“I’d win a Deadly Award but get vilified on line. I’d become a Tennis Australia First Nations Ambassador and then find some muppet calling my heritage into question.”
The three-time Grand Slam winner said there was still a lot of work and educated needed to address the importance of Indigenous Australians.
“There was no need for us to talk about that in the moment but it was certainly something that confused me a little bit as to why someone would criticise something that is so personal to me,” she told NewsCorp.
“Looking back now it’s all about the education and giving people the tools to understand others and appreciate what came before us.”
Barty went on to reveal that her trip to Central Australia where she worked with First Nations children was when she was convinced of a connection with them.
“If anything it has just reassured to me that the path I want to go down in the future is to try and help First Nations youth around the country.”
Eventually, Barty found out of her Indigenous heritage when her father Rob traced back his roots.
At 13 he was told by a cousin that there was Indigenous heritage in the family but his parents denied it, claiming their connection was only to Māoris in New Zealand.
Rob did not accept that and went on to trace back his family history where he found out that his great grandmother was an Indigenous Australian who married a white man.
Barty’s dad sat her and her sister down when she was just seven and told them the truth.
The family then went on to record their names with the Ngarigu Nation.
“It was not a conversation his parents could have with him,” she wrote.
“To his parents, Aboriginal ancestry was something to be ashamed of and not something he should be curious about.”
This article first appeared on OverSixty.