Around 3.6 million Australians tuned in to watch Ashleigh Barty win her first Grand Slam title at the Rod Laver Arena, compared to 2.1 million who watched the men’s final.
Barty stormed to victory at the Australian Open, defeating Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 in the final.
The triumph saw the 25-year-old earn her first ever Grand Slam title on home soil and become the first Australian to win the tournament since Christine O’Neil in 1978.
Barty had the full backing of the Rod Laver Arena during the tournament, and it has now been revealed she had millions of Australians supporting her from their sofas as well.
Her match against Collins was the highest rating Australian Open women’s final since measurement provider OzTAM began, and got more viewers than most men’s final matches over the past 21 years.
It was also one of the most popular sporting moments in Australia over the last two decades, attracting more viewers than Cadel Evans’s victory at the Tour de France in 2011 and Peter Bol’s attempt at winning 800m gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Around 3.6 million viewers nationally tuned in to Barty’s clash against Collins, with the audience peaking at 4.3 million.
An additional 241,000 viewers watched the match through Nine’s online video service 9Now, which was yet another record.
In comparison, 2.1 million Australian viewers watched Rafael Nadal overcome Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in the men’s final.
Only three men’s finals at the Australian Open have surpassed the viewing figures from the women’s final this year – Lleyton Hewitt against Marat Safin in 2005, Roger Federer against Marcos Baghdatis in 2006, and Nadal’s match against Federer in 2017.
Last year, Barty won at the Melbourne Open, Miami Open, Stuttgart Open, Cincinnati Open and Wimbledon, earning more WTA titles than any other female player on the Tour.
After ending her year early to return to Australia and spend some time at home, Barty was straight out of the blocks as the new season got underway.
The 25-year-old triumphed at the Adelaide International, but her path to victory was not easy. She overcame Coco Gauff, Sofia Kenin, Iga Świątek and Elena Rybakina to send out a warning shot to her fellow Australian Open contenders.
Barty did not drop a single set during last month’s Grand Slam, with her emphatic win marking her 14th career title and the third Grand Slam of her career.
The world number one remains unbeaten this year, and will now be preparing to regain her French Open title in June.