The positive influence of Barty's visit

COMEBACK: Ash Barty at the Nyrstar Port Pirie Tennis International Pro Tour in 2016. Photo by Hip Photography.

COMEBACK: Ash Barty at the Nyrstar Port Pirie Tennis International Pro Tour in 2016. Photo by Hip Photography.

It is the comeback that the whole world is talking about, Ashleigh Barty, a 23-year-old from Queensland who won her first grand slam title at the French Open against Marketa Vondrousova, 6-1, 6-3 on June 8.

Ash took an almost two year hiatus from tennis before returning in June 2016 and from there, she has worked to secure herself multiple momentous wins and a ranking of world number two.

Yet it was only three years ago that Ash Barty was on the Australian Pro Tour which encompasses 27 weeks of competition, making a stop in Port Pirie for what is known as the Nyrstar Port Pirie Tennis International Pro Tour.

In 2016, drawn as wildcards, Ash teamed up with Casey Dellacqua who took on the doubles tournament at the Terrace courts where they unfortunately lost in the final to Riko Sawayanagi and Ya-Hsuan Lee.

It is losses like the one Barty had in Port Pirie that helped her get back into tennis and push her all the way through to her French win.

Lauren Boulton, the secretary for the Port Pirie and District Tennis Association explains that Port Pirie is highly regarded by players on the touring circuit and they always receive positive feedback regarding their tournament.

"The feedback that we have had from the players once they have been here is that they want to come back because they have enjoyed the atmosphere and they enjoy the way the event is run," she said.

Lauren explains that the players who visit play such an important part as role models for junior players.

"Junior development is important to us and having really highly skilled players come to town for the juniors to watch is inspirational for them. That is certainly a good thing.

"It is great for the town to have access to watching really high skilled players."

Ash Barty has said that she values the role of the local circuit and that it is such an important part to any tennis players journey. "It is vital for Australian players to have opportunities at home like the Port Pirie event to reduce travel and costs when they are starting out," Ash said.