Sports

Barty ready for Melbourne ride

MELBOURNE, Jan 19 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/19/2020 12:48:48 PM IST

Ashleigh Barty is already sick of the sight of her face plastered all over Melbourne but feels she is as well prepared as possible for a shot at ending her country’s 42-year wait for a homegrown Australian Open champion.

The world number one cannot have had much time to check out the city on Sunday having hot-footed it from South Australia, where she beat Dayana Yastremska on Saturday evening to win the Adelaide International.

“It’s the perfect preparation but regardless of whether I won the title or not ... I feel like I’m well-prepared,” she told reporters.

“I’m happy, I’m healthy. I’m coming into the first Grand Slam of the year with a smile on my face. That’s all I can ask of myself.”

The weight of local expectation surrounding Barty has ratcheted up since she joined the Grand Slam winners’ club at last year’s French Open before becoming the first Australian woman to top the world rankings since Evonne Goolagong-Cawley.

Barty said she felt no extra pressure and could not wait to get out on court on Monday to face Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in front of what will be a partisan Rod Laver Arena crowd.

“It’s amazing to have so much support and so much love from the Australian public. I’ve really felt that in an exceptional way over the last 12 months. It’s been incredible,” she said.

“I think it’s a bit of a feeling when you walk out on the court, it’s almost electric that the crowd’s involved, that I’ve got so much love and support from the crowd. It’s amazing. I think when they really get invested in the match, it’s really special.”


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