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January 8, 2019

Ashleigh Barty

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

A. BARTY/J. Ostapenko

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You had three good matches last week, another one here, and now you're playing Simona.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I feel like I have played enough matches now, I'm ready, feel pretty good on the court. There's certainly no better challenge than coming up against Simona right before a slam.

It's kind of the perfect opportunity for me to go out there and play freely and try a few different things and get ready as best that I can to try and win that match.

Q. You've played her four times before?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Sim? Twice, I think.

Q. What are your memories of those matches?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, look, they were actually back-to-back weeks in Montreal and Cincinnati, I think they were, last year. I never played her before that, and obviously they were tough matches.

I was in both of those matches and let my opportunities slip. So I know that if I do the right things, I will certainly get my opportunities and then it comes down to execution and trying to do the right things.

She's the ultimate competitor. She's the best in the world, and there's no one better to come up against to test your game.

Q. A big tournament next week. How do you balance all these things out?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, for me it's pretty straightforward. I think we focus purely on this tournament first and then worry about next week. That's certainly worked well for us last year.

There is not really much I can do about next week sitting here or being in Sydney, so we will try to do the best we can here, prepare and play as well as we can, and then worry about Melbourne come next Monday or Tuesday when I play.

Q. Does this mean you have had such good preparation that, win or lose against Simona, you're good to go?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I think win or lose today, I had no stress and no worries that I'd be good to go for Melbourne. I think it's just another opportunity to go out there and play some good tennis.

Win or lose, I feel like I'm ready. I feel like I'm playing good tennis. It's just an opportunity for me to go out and test myself against the best in the world.

Q. What were you most pleased with today?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think in the little bit tricky conditions -- you know, it's a little bit swirly in that court, not that it's easy to see from the outside, but I think particularly how well I returned and got into those return games.

A few areas of my serve I'd like to clean up. Look, it was a pretty straightforward match, which is what I'm most pleased with.

Q. Regarding the slice backhand, playing against a slice backhand, how much of an asset is it against these top players?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, certainly when I play Jelena, it's a big point of difference. It's something I try and implement a lot more than coming over my backhand. That's certainly one of the points that I focus on when playing her.

You know, I think probably the ratio of me slicing to coming over backhands was pretty favorable towards the slice. That's something that we focused on, and I know that then I'll get opportunities to either keep using it or get around and use my forehand.

Q. How do you like these balls? Bernie Tomic doesn't like them. He called them cheap. How do you find them?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Wow. No, I like them. They are not much different from the previous Wilson ball. I think they are a very fair ball.

They play a little bit differently in different states with different weather. Look, I think they are a pretty fair ball, and they play well on the Plexicushion.

Q. The tournaments right before the Australian Open and the times you have been here, what have you learned trying to handle the lead-ups?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it takes some adjusting. It takes some getting used to.

But the last couple years I felt really comfortable. The support that I get in Australia is amazing, and in Melbourne is kind of the next level, as well.

It's a hell of a way to start a year. Hopefully I can go out there and play well. I expect myself to prepare and do everything right so I can go out and perform my best for myself, my team, and the Australian public.

Q. Can you win it this year? Or is that too much?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I'm in the draw, so why not? (Smiling.)

Q. What will you need to do against Simona to get the win tomorrow?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think I'm going to have to serve well. She's probably the best returner in the game. No doubt I will have to serve well and try and construct my points very well.

Using my forehand is obviously no secret. When I can get more forehands and backhands, I feel like I'm in control of more points. But it's going to be an extremely physical match. Hopefully serve well, look for forehands, and see how it goes.

Q. Last year in Melbourne, your match got switched. Was that kind of chaotic?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, well, it was, but we were kind of of the understanding that's how it was going to move. I think it was a men's match that went five sets. I think it was a women's match previously that had also gone quite a while, and we had been given the heads up that the change was a possibility.

So, yeah, I was ready. It was just kind of dependent on that men's match, when it finished, but I was aware of it and ready to move if we had to. In the end, we did, but, yeah, we were aware of it an hour or two before.

Q. Is it still a letdown, all set for the big room and then you get...
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Margaret Court isn't an ordinary court. It's still a beautiful court. You know, I love playing out there. It's a tennis court that's the same lines, the same measurements and dimensions. One just has a few more seats around it. Both beautiful courts. I'm very lucky to play on either of them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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