For maiden grand slam winner Aryna Sabalenka, it is a case of the ultimate last laugh.

In 2018 Australian fans openly mocked her during a clash with local legend Ash Barty.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Fans mock Sabalenka in 2018 Aus Open clash with Barty.

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The noises the Belarusian tennis star was making during that match had seemingly got under the skin of the crowd and they went for the jugular (watch the video).

Barty was a set down down but up in the second when the fans started copying the sounds of Sabalenka as she attempted to serve.

Ash Barty and Aryna Sabalenka during their Australian Open clash in 2018. Credit: Seven/Getty Images

There was a chorus of “ooooos” and moans all aimed to embarrass Sabalenka, who was just 19 at the time.

It was brutal heckling and Barty was clearly unimpressed with the crowd. She could be seen shaking her head in frustration as the game was brought to a temporary halt.

But after Saturday’s brilliant fightback win against Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, that 2018 night of humiliation is now a distant memory, but one Sabalenka will never forget.

She even touched on it her during speech after lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial trophy.

“My first Australian Open was against Ashleigh on the Rod Laver stadium,” Sabalenka said.

“I remember after the match thinking, ‘Oh my god, I think I will never get it’. That’s crazy.

“I think Australia loves me,” she said with a laugh.

Aryna Sabalenka came from a set down to beat Elena Rybakina to the Australian Open singles title. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

“The support this week, I think because everyone remembers last year and everyone wants me to be better. I felt the support and it really motivated me a lot.”

While the triumph was certainly one to savour for Sabalanka – after previously losing three grand slam semi-finals – tournament organisers will be disappointed that the match was not a sellout.

Many vacant seats could be seen during the final.

Some have speculated that the disappointing crowd number may have something to do with various issues at the tournament, including the multiple flag controversies.

Sabalenka competes under a neutral flag, while Rybakina competes under a Kazakhstan flag, after switching her allegiances from Russia.

“First of all I want to say sorry for my English because I’m still shaking and super nervous,” Sabalenka said when accepting the trophy.

“It’s such an inspiration to receive the trophy from you (Billie Jean King), thank you so much for everything you’ve done for our sport.

“Thank you so much guys for such an amazing atmosphere …. It was enjoyable to play in front of you. Thank you so much.”

“Again, thankyou soo much for an amazing atmosphere and I hope I can come back stronger next year and I’ll show you even better tennis and you guys will support me even more.”

Kubler and Hijikata claim Australian doubles title after stunning match point

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