Celebrity Match with Brooke Blurton
Proud First Nations woman and reality television star Brooke Blurton reflects on Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Ash Barty's impact in our Celebrity Match series.
Brooke Blurton is a youth worker and mental health advocate. Her public profile has grown through a number appearances on Australian reality television programs, including The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and The Challenge.
The proud Indigenous woman created worldwide history in 2021 as the first bisexual lead in The Bachelorette franchise. She also hosts a weekly podcast, Not So PG, and last year published her memoir, Big Love.
In our Celebrity Match series, Blurton speaks about her tennis experiences and the importance of representation and diversity in the sport …
Not competitively, but I’ve absolutely played socially. We didn’t have tennis in the country town where I grew up, but as an adult I’ve really learned to love the game. I’ve been going to the Australian Open every year since 2020. My best friend is a huge Australian Open fan and loves tennis, so I often go with her.
It’s great for fitness, because it makes you super active. I’ve always enjoyed playing sport, but I’m not very good at playing tennis. So for me, it’s more about (enjoying) the challenge and trying to get better.
We have such great athletes in Australia and it is amazing to see them perform. I loved watching Dylan Alcott and really enjoy watching Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis too. I don’t want to be too cliche, but I also loved Ash Barty.
Because my mum and my nan loved her, it is Evonne Goolagong Cawley. She is obviously a legend of the game and I remember hearing a lot about her when I was younger. She was a prominent name that my nan would bring up. Evonne set such a high standard as an athlete and a role model. For me, growing up knowing how amazing she was, not just on the Australian level but also at a global level, it showed that there is more out there in the world. I see this now working with young people as a youth worker, they don’t always know what is out there in the world and it’s important to teach them that there is so much that they can do and that they should shoot for the stars. Evonne showed there are other sports where First Nations athletes can succeed, it’s not just in AFL and basketball. I would love to get to meet her one day, that would be amazing.
It has to be Ash Barty winning at Wimbledon in 2021. That for us, as women and as Australians, was so game-changing. I remember staying up so late to watch the final but ended up falling asleep and didn’t actually see her win. But it was so nice to wake up and see her celebrations all over the news.
When I was really young I remember watching Lleyton Hewitt. He was such a great athlete in the game, so prominent and would really celebrate after his wins. Seeing Ash celebrating at Wimbledon took me back to those days, but to see it for a First Nations woman was very momentous.
My first Australian Open was in 2020, when I was a guest of Garnier. I saw Novak Djokovic play Roger Federer in the semifinals, which was amazing.
This year I was a guest of Piper-Heidsieck and attended on AO Pride Day. I got to meet Alex Bolt, who is really great. I’ve followed his journey and it’s good to see him making a comeback. There were so many people there for AO Pride too, which was amazing to see. I love the fact that the Australian Open has really integrated pride into the event, because a few years ago that wasn’t the case. It’s amazing to see that progression and that the event is becoming even more inclusive.
The best part of the Australian Open is … I love the vibe of going to the tennis and making a day of it. It is also very unpredictable, you never know how long a match can go for or what the outcome will be.
Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!