Barty an Australian of the Year nominee
Springfield's Ashleigh Barty may have bowed out prematurely from her homecoming tournament today - the Brisbane International - but she is still a winner in the eyes of most.
Indeed, the women's world tennis No. 1 is a nominee in the Australian of the Year Award to be announced on Australia Day at the National Arboretum, Canberra
Such is Barty's reputation for exemplary behaviour under the glare of the world sporting spotlight, she has as good a chance as any of being chosen.
Everyone who meets her for the first time says exactly the same thing - how nice a person she is.
"Ash especially, is a great inspiration as she seems like a great person on and off court, as well as being the world's best,'' rising Queensland schoolgirl Sydney Stone said when asked about meeting with Barty last year.
Barty's junior coach at the West Brisbane Tennis Centre Jim Joyce also recalled how one of his current juniors came up to him last year and said excitedly: "Ash walked past me in the shops and remembered my name.''
Actor Paul Hogan "chuck another shrimp'' on the barbecue is revered to this day as a great advertisement for Australia, but Tourism Australia can't pay Barty enough for promoting her homeland by merely being herself.
She has a girl-next door demeanour and is a generous donor to the RSPCA.
No one in Australia smiles more widely than junior coach Joyce when Barty wins somewhere in the world.
But, there is something more than her victories that warms the heart of Joyce.
"More importantly the way she behaves and her demeanour on the court, the way she holds herself,'' Joyce said.
"It is such a great influence on the kids these days.''