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January 8, 2018

Ashleigh Barty

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

A. BARTY/V. Cepede Royg

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It must be good to get that first win under the belt for the year.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it is. It was pretty tricky conditions out there today. I think obviously a very tough opponent who has come through quallies, played three quality matches in these conditions.

You know, I think today was a little bit better than last week, and hopefully we can get a little bit better with the next match and hopefully have a few more here before we go to Melbourne.

Q. What was better today, do you think?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think just generally my construction of points was better. I felt like I used my serve to get my forehand a little bit more, and then when I had time I was able to set and just had a little bit more confidence in letting my forehand go and trying to hit my spots.

Q. How do you feel about being Australia's No. 1 player playing in Australia? Other players have struggled with that level of expectation from the public. How do you feel about it?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, I feel fine. I feel great (smiling).

No, I think it's amazing to come into a summer as Aussie No. 1, but I think in my eyes, Sam has set the tone and set the bar for so many years and set the standard, really. You know, I hit with Sammy a couple days ago in preparation for this tournament. It was perfect just to get out with her.

I think for me it's pretty special coming in as Aussie No. 1, but it certainly doesn't add any external pressure. Only pressure I put on myself.

Q. Did she have any advice for you on how to handle what's potentially coming your way, especially when you get down to Melbourne?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, I don't think we really spoke about it. We just go out and hit and go about our business. Whether one of us is ranked No. 1 or one of us is ranked 800 in the world, it doesn't really matter. We just go out and do our thing and do what need to do to prepare best for the next tournament.

Q. What's the mindset this week? Is it getting match practices or just working on the game and finding your range?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Trying to win (smiling), like everyone else out here. Obviously, yes, there is a Grand Slam next week, but at the end of the day, this tournament is right now, and that's all I have to worry about.

I think it's great that I get another opportunity to go out and play another singles match tomorrow or Wednesday, whenever it is, and I think it's nice to know that I can practice a few things in match conditions, but obviously first and foremost I'm trying to win the match.

Q. Have you reflected much on where you were this time last year and how remarkable that year has been for you and how different your situation is now?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it was a great year. It really was. I think it was just a year that filled me with a lot of confidence and a lot of self-belief. I think it will be -- I don't feel like I'm quite tapping into that just yet. I think my tennis needs to go up another level for me to feel super confident on the court.

I don't think I'm far off that. I have another match to have an opportunity to get to that level, and obviously try and do my best this week and then the next week in a Grand Slam.

Q. Your next opponent is Ellen Perez, the wildcard who is also an Australian. I don't think you have played her very much; is that right?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, Ellen and I are actually really good mates. We grew up playing together. I have known her since we were eight or nine years old. Yeah, actually the last time we played she got the better of me only 18 months ago.

I think it's obviously a difficult matchup, different playing a lefty. You don't see too many of them. Ellen can come out -- these conditions suit her. I think they suit me, as well, so I think it will be a cracking match.

Q. Casey's playing doubles. You're only playing singles this week?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, just playing singles for me this week. I think it's an opportunity for me to try and get a few singles matches and then obviously get down to Melbourne. And Case knew that from the get-go. We had a great tournament in Brisbane. We were this close to a final. I think we are in great preparation and have done all the right things and ready to go for the Australian Open.

Q. Is it a matter of not overloading the week before a slam, is it?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, yes and no. I think Case and I felt like we had good enough matches last week to feel confident. We feel good on the court.

Obviously Case only playing doubles, obviously she will play with someone else this week when I'm just playing singles, but we have a really open line of communication. She was aware of that from the get-go.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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