Barty wins 'The Don Award', recognized as Australia's top sportsperson in 2019

Ashleigh Barty 2019 The Don Award Getty

Barty wins 'The Don Award', recognized as Australia's top sportsperson in 2019

"When I started playing tennis, my first coach Jim Joyce had four "rules".

Tennis superstar Ashleigh Barty has capped a dream year after winning the Sport Australia Hall of Fame's The Don award on Thursday night.

But Ash wasn't the only victor at the event, with Paralympian Louise Sauvage also picking up "legend" status at the Hall Of Fame, being the first Paralympian in history to do so. The Don Award is presented to the sportsperson whose actions have inspired the nation both on and off-court.

"He stuck with me from day dot when I came back (to tennis)", Barty said. She's even about to finish the year in the number-one spot, which is no small feat.

Speaking exclusively to Macquarie Sports Radio Nights with Christian Jantzen, the 23-year-old spoke about the year she has had which has seen her claim her first major tournament earlier this year at the French Open and later became the first Australian woman to be world number one since Evonne Goolagong-Cawley in 1976.

The French Open champion wants to end 2019 on a high, with the WTA finals in Shenzhen, China at the end of this month.

She will then return to Australia for the November 9-10 Fed Cup final against France in Perth.

Barty beat out eight other nominees - Dylan Alcott (tennis), Cooper Cronk (NRL), Tim Paine, (cricket), Ellyse Perry (cricket), Caleb Ewan (cycling), Stephanie Gilmore (surfing), Craig Lowndes (motor sport) and Ariarne Titmus (swimming) - for the prestigious gong.

The nine-time gold medallist is the 41st legend of Australian sport.

Louise Sauvage arrives ahead of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner.

There were seven inductions this year into the hall of fame - commentator Dennis Cometti, swimmer Matt Cowdrey, shooter Russell Mark, cyclist Robbie McEwen, swimmer Stephanie Rice, Cheryl Salisbury (soccer) and Emma Snowsill (triathlon).

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