In 2018, Marta Kostyuk created history in Melbourne when she became the youngest player this century to win a grand slam match at Melbourne Park.
At the age of 15, Kostyuk was immediately flagged as an exciting young prospect, and it seemed she was destined to be playing in sold out stadiums with the expectation that she might one day win a major title.
In the years that have since followed, Kostyuk has continued to be one of most promising young talents on the WTA tour and in recent months has been a strong spokeswomen and leader in generating awareness for her home country, Ukraine.
Last month marked one year since war broke out in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion of the country with global impacts filtering through to sport which included Wimbledon banning all Russian and Belarusian players at last years tournament.
For Kostyuk, the last 12 months have been challenging with her family based in Ukraine but last week she was overcome with emotion as she claimed the biggest win of her career.
Kostyuk conquered a major milestone, claiming her maiden WTA title at the ATX Open in Texas and delivered in style on court with a powerful display.
The 20-year-old defeated Varvara Gracheva in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 with the win holding particular significance for both Kostyuk and Ukraine.
Coming into the tournament, Kostyuk had previously gone 0-4 in WTA semi-finals but was able to rectify those statistics defeating Danielle Collins in the semi-final 6-4, 6-3.
Speaking after her tremendous victory, Kostyuk wanted to focus her win on the people suffering in Ukraine.
“Being in the position that I am right now, its extremely special to win this title and I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and to all the people who are fighting and dying right now,” she said.
During the Australian summer of tennis, Kostyuk was a key participant and contributor to the charity night held at Rod Laver Arena to raise money for the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Using her profile, Kostyuk has become a vocal presence for Ukraine across her social media and in public.
Raised in Kyiv, Kostyuk regularly speaks with her family and friends back home.
Speaking at last summers charity match, Kostyuk said she was grateful for all the support she had received over the last few months.
“I know a lot of people around the world support Ukraine, but to feel it like this, to be there and feel that, it was amazing,” she said.
While acting as an advocate for her home country, the young Ukrainian has previously said she has also been conflicted at times about whether she could be doing more to help.
Speaking with The Age in January Kostyuk explained why she was feeling unsure.
“At first I thought I was not doing enough, because I was not in the Ukraine, and that I might be of more use in the Ukraine volunteering,” she said.
“I was fighting with myself, saying ‘What should I do?’ But now, I have a feeling that this is the right thing to do and I am doing it.”
Coached by her mother, Talina Beiko, who herself is a former tour player, Kostyuk is steadily rising through the ranks and has now reached a career high ranking No. 40, jumping 12 spots after her maiden title.
For Kostyuk, this is a title that means so much to both her and her country and with so much talent, its sure to be the first of many more to come.