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Following her second-round victory against Lucia Bronzetti on Wednesday, tennis superstar Ash Barty paid tribute to a fellow tennis icon and personal mentor of hers, Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

After her smashing success, Barty spoke to retired tennis star Casey Dellacqua on the court, with Dellacqua asking Barty about her relationship with Goolagong Cawley, who was unable to attend the Open this year.

Barty has previously spoken about how she idolises Goolagong Cawley – a fellow Aboriginal woman – and even paid tribute to her following her huge win at Wimbledon last year. Following her win, which came 41 years after Goolagong Cawley’s, she said, “I hope I made Evonne proud”. Barty was the first Australian woman to win a Wimbledon singles title since Goolagong Cawley’s win in 1980.

On the court on Wednesday, Barty said of Goolagong Cawley, “She’s an incredible human being. I’m extremely lucky to be able to call her a friend, I know she’s only ever a phone call away.

“The universe has worked in a way that we’re so connected. We’ve got some special anniversaries that we share together, obviously we’re connected through our heritage. She’s an incredible woman and she’s been able to guide so many of the indigenous youth coming up in the last however many years, but also her work off the court.

“I’m privileged to know her. I love her to death.”

Goolagong Cawley, who was born in Griffith and grew up in Barellan, won the French Open singles and the Australian Open doubles when she was just 19, the latter alongside Margaret Court. She went on to win the women’s singles at Wimbledon in 1971 a year later, and in 1980 became the first mother to win Wimbledon in 66 years. She won 14 Grand Slam titles in all, and was named Australian of the Year in 1971. She now leads the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous children, which encourages Indigenous Australian youth to stay in school.

Image: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

This article first appeared on OverSixty.