'As an Aussie, the most important part of this tournament is to be able to share it with so many people'
World number one Ash Barty said her dream came true after she ended Australia's 44-year wait for a home winner at the Australian Open by beating American Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6(2) in the final on Saturday.
Barty staved off a fightback from Collins to pick up her third Grand Slam title, thus becoming the first Australian to win the event since Chris O'Neil captured the women's title in 1978.
"This is a dream come true for me, and I am so proud to be an Aussie," said Barty, who also won the 2019 French Open and 2021 Wimbledon titles.
"As an Aussie, the most important part of this tournament is to be able to share it with so many people and you guys in the crowd have been nothing short of exceptional."
"I have said numerous times, I am so lucky to have so many people here that love and support me... I am an incredibly fortunate and lucky girl to have so much love in my corner."
The 25-year-old Barty becomes the second active female player to claim major titles on all three surfaces, alongside 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.
"This crowd is one of the most fun I have played in front of... You relax me, force me to play my best tennis," Barty said of the crowd on the floodlit Rod Laver Arena.