Ashleigh Barty comes into AO2018 with plenty of momentum Ashleigh Barty comes into AO2018 with plenty of momentum

Ashleigh Barty pre-tournament interview

Interviews
Q. How are you feeling about the week or two weeks ahead?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, hopefully two weeks (smiling).
 
 Yeah, no, very positive. We had a fantastic leadup through Brisbane and Sydney. Feel like I'm playing pretty good tennis.
 
 It's a new week, a fresh week. Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling from the momentum we created.
 
Q. Career-best form?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think we'll have to wait and see. I feel like the end of last year I probably found my best tennis. It was nice to sort of be able to touch on that a few times in Sydney, as well.
 
Q. A lot of external hype about how you're playing. How are you dealing with that, being the local hope?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: I mean, it's just nice to be here again. I love playing in Australia. I love playing at home. It was nice to do well last week and get a few matches under my belt.
 
 You know, this is the best time of the year for all Aussies. I'm just really excited to sort of get underway.
 
Q. How much do you feel it's helped you having been through the hype and expectation when you were younger?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it's very different to now. I think obviously my experiences sort of in my first career, I suppose, first time around, was very different. I feel much more comfortable in my own skin. I feel like I'm playing better tennis. I'm more comfortable out on the court. I can play the way that I want to play.
 
Q. Long time ago, but when you won the Wimbledon juniors, in your head, where did you think you were going to end up? How did you think it was going to work out for you after that?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it was a very long time ago. For me, that was just a bit of a 'wow' moment. It sort of just stood out, happened very quickly for me. I wasn't thinking too far ahead at that point.
 
 I think if you're a good junior, there are no guarantees that you'll make it on the tour. I think it was very confronting for me.
 
 But I feel like we've done the work this time around. I feel great on the court. I feel like I've got a really solid team around me of genuine people. They're helping me through everything.
 
Q. You might have heard Billie Jean King's comments about Margaret Court Arena, potentially renaming it or players boycotting it. Do you have a view on that?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think for me, personally, I'll play wherever I'm scheduled. That's the way I am. Whatever the tournament thinks is best, I'll play where I'm scheduled. It's not my decision, so it's not really for me to comment on.
 
Q. Do you think the tournament should make a stand, given what she said, sort of be stronger, say it's time to take her name off the arena?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: Again, I'm sort of not on the tournament committee or anything like that. I can't really make a comment on it.
 
Q. Any midnight practice sessions last night after the match in Sydney?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: A midnight session on the plane coming here (smiling).
 
 No, we got in very late last night. It's nice to be here now and have a couple days to sort of get ready for Tuesday.
 
Q. What are your expectations personally? Do you set yourself a goal in terms of progressing past the third round or...
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: Very cliché, but one match at a time. To be honest, I feel like I've been playing good tennis coming into this week. It's a fresh tournament. It's a fresh start. I'll have to focus on my first round and do whatever I can to get through that first round, to then try and dig my teeth into the tournament.
 
Q. Obviously a home Grand Slam. What is the vibe among the Australian players in particular? Do you band together a little bit once you get here?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think it's just pure excitement. I think all the Aussies really love playing at home. There's nothing better than walking out onto an Australian Open court with the crowd behind you. I think every single player wants to be out here and wants to do well in Australia.
 
 It's no different for me. I'd certainly love to play my best tennis and have my best run in a Grand Slam here. Fingers crossed I can band it all together and play well this week.
 
Q. Does it feel like there's a particular excitement about Australian tennis at the moment?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think so, yeah. I mean, my personal view on the women's side, I feel like we've got more depth than ever. Especially my time coming through, we've got a really good mix of sort of veterans and young girls coming through. It's a really exciting time to be around women's tennis. We've got sort of a great team feel in Fed Cup and just in the general environment.
 
Q. When you see players like Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, winning Grand Slams unseeded, does it change the vibe in the women's game? Does it make everyone feel like there's an opportunity for everyone to win the biggest titles?
 ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think in women's tennis at the moment, it's really exciting. As I said, there's that mix of veterans still at the top, then young players coming through, as well, being dominant in certain areas.
 
 I think it's amazing for the sport to have such an open tournament, open sort of field, that's strong, that anyone can win on a given day.
 
 
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14 Jan 18
Rising Aussie tennis star Ash Barty loves playing on home ground and is looking forward to the 2018 Australian Open.

Pre-tournament press conference: Ashleigh Barty

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