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June 8, 2019

Ashleigh Barty

Paris, France

A. BARTY/M. Vondrousova

6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. So well done. How would you, in your best words, describe a Barty Party?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Well, for a lot of the Aussies out there, I think for us it's a celebration of not just these two weeks but the last two or three years for myself and my team. I have an extraordinary group of genuine, authentic people around me.

This is just a byproduct of what we've been able to do, all the work that we have done, and it's incredible and I'm speechless.

Q. Is it beginning to sink in yet?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, it's remarkable. At the moment it's a bit too much and a bit out there, really. But it's amazing. I mean, we have done the work, and we tried to put ourselves in these positions. Now that we're here, it's just incredible.

Q. Congratulations. Normally clay wouldn't be kind of your strongest surface. You must feel after winning that it's just a start to go on and win more Grand Slams?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, it's been an incredible couple of weeks, that's for sure. I think any time I can play my brand of tennis, I know that I can match it against the best in the world.

For the last fortnight, the stars have aligned for me. I have been able to play really good tennis when I've needed it.

This is just incredible. I never dreamt that I'd be sitting here with this trophy here at the French Open. I mean, obviously we have dreams and goals as children, but this is incredible.

Q. Congratulations. From losing in the second round in Rome to winning your first major here in Roland Garros, what were the adjustments you made in your game from Rome to Paris to have this success you had during these two weeks?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think probably that match in Rome was the only match of the whole year that I felt like I walked off the court and I was a little bit disappointed with how I played and how I was out there.

But it was a very quick and easy turnaround. I think having doubles certainly helped and playing those few extra matches with Vika was unreal, and I felt like I was striking the ball well. Then it was about managing my body and making sure that I was as fit as possible to come here and enjoy it and play well.

Yeah, I think I played well last year on the clay. I'm learning more and more every single time that I play, learning how to use my variety and use it as best I can. It's just been an amazing two weeks.

Q. Do you think this sort of craziness of yesterday's match, do you think that maybe helped you in a way to stay calm today?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, yesterday was an absolute roller coaster. There's no way about it. I think I played some really good tennis and some pretty awful tennis.

Then today I just kept saying to myself, I may never get this opportunity ever again, so try and grab it with both hands.

I felt like for me it was the perfect tennis match, considering the situation, the conditions, and kind of all of the above. It was amazing.

Q. Congratulations. You were playing someone who could have been you or whose shoes you have stood in. A young, very talented player who is getting a lot of attention. What kind of statement would you like to make to young players about making their own way when they have success so early?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I think tennis is a very unique sport, that it can happen very quickly and when a lot of girls and guys are at a very young age. I mean, you can play professionally when you're 13 or 14, I think, officially.

So I think, you know, it's about creating your own path, creating your own journey, and embracing it. There's no formula how to, you know, to become a professional tennis player. It's your own, it's unique, your own journey, your own path, your own experiences.

I think the best thing to do is learn from your mistakes, learn from every single experience that you have, whether it's good or bad. That's the only way to go about it, only way to grow as a person and as a player.

I think first and foremost is that we've got a pretty amazing world that we live in in the tennis world. It's remarkable. We come to beautiful cities and play in front of thousands of people who generally love this sport. And for us it's about going out there and trying to entertain those people and trying to fulfill our dreams.

Q. I understand your parents flew over this morning to the UK. Was there any chance they could have got over to Paris, changed their flight, and when do you expect to see them next?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, it was planned they were always coming to the UK. It just so happened they were flying in today. There was never, you know, a kind of spark in my mind or question that they would come here for me.

I know they're watching. I know they are living through every single point with me and every single ride with me.

But for the sake of my routine and my performance, I would love to have had them here but from the start of the tournament, not turning up for the finals. I know they're watching.

But they flew in and only landed an hour or two before we actually went on the court. So there was no physical possibility they could get to Paris.

I will see them tomorrow. You know, obviously give them a big hug and a big kiss. It will be really nice to see them again, because it's been a few weeks.

Q. Congratulations. Do you think you'd still be here with the trophy if you hadn't stepped away from the sport in 2014?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Absolutely not. I don't even know if I'd be sitting here talking to you if I was playing tennis if I didn't step away.

It's obviously a part of my life that I needed to deal with, and I feel like it was the best decision that I made at the time, and it was an even better one coming back.

Q. Well done. I'd like to know, apart from work, everyone says, Oh, I did a lot of work, but what is your secret? I mean, if there is any technical secret if you can tell us? Also, because you're not a giant but you served 38 aces. Nobody has done so many. Can you tell us how did it develop, these secrets, this power? Explain. Because we don't believe it almost.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I mean, I'm not that little. (Laughter.) I'm 5'7".

Q. You're not like a Pliskova or Venus Williams.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, but I'm not that little. I was very fortunate that my coach developed this game and created this game that was technically sound. I know that my technique is sound and that I can trust it.

And it's been a natural progression of, you know, becoming stronger, not growing any taller, but getting stronger and being able to trust myself and hit my spots on my serve.

My serve is a massive part of my game, and I try and think my way around the court. I know where opponents like to return, and if they shift their position, where they return. And I try and expose those spots as best that I can.

But, I mean, yeah, it's just a part of my game that I work on a lot. I work on it, I practice it, and I think that's the only way around it.

Q. A few years ago you did leave tennis. Did you know when you left you would come back? And what was it that made you want to return to this sport?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think I never said -- I never closed any doors, saying, I'm never playing tennis again.

For me, I needed time to step away, to live a normal life, because this tennis life certainly isn't normal. I think I needed time to grow as a person, to mature.

I left all of my options open. I think it was just a natural progression for me coming back to tennis. I was still involved in tennis every single day, working with Jim, my coach. We were coaching every day. I was still hitting balls, just not for myself. Certainly it's always been a big part of my life. Tennis will always be a big part of my life.

Overall, it's just -- I miss the competition. I miss the one-on-one battle, the ebbs and the flows, the emotions you get from winning and losing matches. They are so unique and you can only get them when you're playing and when you put yourself out on the line and when you become vulnerable and try and do things that no one thinks of.

Q. Congratulations. As I'm sure you're aware by now, #bartyparty or #partybarty is trending across the world right now. What does the achievement mean to you right now and how will you celebrate?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It's incredible, it really is. I don't love that hashtag as much as you guys love it, that's for sure. I think, for us tonight, it's a celebration for myself and my team.

I'm not the only person out here. I have an extraordinary group of people around me. I love working with them every single day, day in, day out. They're with me at the hardest times of my life, and they're with me in some of the most amazing times.

I think, for us, it's a celebration of the journey we have been on for the last three years.

Q. When you were leaving cricket and coming back to tennis and making that decision, did you think that a Grand Slam trophy would be in reach for you ever or this quickly?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: No. No, not at all. I think maybe in doubles, if I'm being completely honest. I think I was so close with Casey so many times. I felt maybe that was a possibility.

But I think a new perspective in my life and in my career, it's brought this new belief, I suppose, and this feeling of belonging at the very top level. I feel like I'm playing some really good tennis. I know when I play my best tennis, I can match it against the world's best.

Q. I'm sure you haven't got a chance to see that yet, but on Twitter and online, there has been a crazy outpour from women's players, men's players, men's coaches, women's coaches, everybody, and they're talking about your game and how much they love it. Wondering how do you feel about that kind of reaction to your game that is not necessarily the typical women's game? What do you make of this outpouring of love towards you?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It's incredibly kind, especially from your peers, I suppose. And people that you see every single week and most weeks of the year, it's very kind of them to compliment myself, my game. But I think it's also a compliment to my team.

It's just been an incredible journey, the way we have tried to work and develop and grow this game that I have and this game style and kind of Ash Barty brand of tennis, I suppose.

It's amazing. I haven't seen any of it yet. It's just been nice to take a minute or two with my team and celebrate what we have achieved.

Q. Congratulations. So on the court, you said it's been a great three years, but you said you believe it's just the beginning. So where is your next goal?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I think for the moment, it's kind of difficult to set goals. We have to take a moment to celebrate what we have achieved. We have worked so hard to put ourselves in these positions and every single person in my team deserves to celebrate this.

We've had an incredible couple of weeks. The stars have aligned for us. And in a couple days' time, we will sit down and continue to work, chip away every single day and try and get better as a player and then work on our goals from there.

Q. Not to put you on the spot, but when do you intend to resume your professional cricket career? (Laughter.)
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Um, hopefully there is a few more years left in tennis for me first (smiling).

Q. But that experience of being on a team and playing with that group, what did it do in terms of shaping what would come next in tennis?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it truly was an amazing period of my life. Probably more so I met an amazing group of people who couldn't care less whether I could hit a tennis ball or not. They accepted me, and they got to know Ash Barty. They got to know me. I still have those relationships to this very day.

I got an amazing amount of messages over the last couple of days from those cricket girls who were some of my best friends. The way they are accepting of someone new coming into their locker room, into their dressing room and into their sport was amazing.

They are truly an incredible group of girls that I know I'll have a relationship with for the rest of my life and a friendship with for the rest of my life.

Q. Congratulations. You and Naomi Osaka are same generation. You got first Grand Slam title here. So Naomi Osaka, you know, got Aussie Open this year. So I think you and Naomi will make a new history of women's tennis from now. What do you think about that?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, hopefully. Obviously Naomi has been extremely dominant over the last period of time. Last 6 or 12 months, she's had an amazing run. She's No. 1 in the world for a reason. She's had an incredible run of tournaments and is playing some amazing tennis.

I think we have only played a couple of times, but I'm sure that we'll play many more times over both of our careers, and hopefully they're in big matches.

Q. Congratulations. You have also made history, becoming only the second indigenous Australian to win a Grand Slam. What does that mean to you, and do you hope this will encourage more indigenous kids to pick up the racket back home?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it's remarkable. Evonne sent me a text a couple days ago and said this was her first Grand Slam. I spotted her name on the trophy. I'll give her a call a little bit later on.

It's amazing she's created this path for indigenous tennis in Australia and not -- you know, I think now it's becoming more nationwide. There are more opportunities for kids to start playing tennis, both male and female.

Hopefully we can continue to create those opportunities and, you know, let kids know that this is an option for a career and they can enjoy it. And even if it's not, it's a sport they can play for life.

Q. Before playing the semifinal, you were asked what is it going to take for you to like clay. Your answer was a title might do it. So...
ASHLEIGH BARTY: That's a terrible accent. (Laughter.)

Q. I know, but I tried. Try a French accent sometime. So do you love clay now? Can you please tell us you love clay in some way?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It's a love/hate relationship (smiling).

No, I think I have always enjoyed playing on clay. I just never get to play much on it. And I think certainly this week is -- these last two weeks, last fortnight has been incredible.

And, yeah, I mean, I said to my team at the start of the year I was just worried about falling over. And I can successfully say that we got to the end of the clay court season and I did not fall over once. So I'm pretty pumped with that.

Q. Heading towards Wimbledon, how much confidence does this give you heading into kind of the grass court season?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Obviously I feel like -- I know I'm playing good tennis. And Wimbledon is a long way away, and I feel like I need to -- I have to be able to celebrate this with my team, take a few days off, and make sure I get my body and mind right so that when I come out to play my next tournament I'm ready to go.

Obviously I love the grass court season. I'm excited to play over this next month in the UK. And hopefully I can bring some really good level of tennis again to potentially give myself a chance to go deep in a major again.

Q. Congrats. I suppose you know who Gabriela Sabatini is?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Of course I do.

Q. She told us that right now you're her favorite player on tour. So I'd like to know if you have any kind of idol or model player when you were younger?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: That's extremely kind of her. I think, for me, when I started playing tennis, I tried to build a unique style. I tried to build my own style. There were players that were dominant and that I looked up to. I think in particular that was Evonne. When I got a little bit older, I began to realize what she achieved and just how remarkable that was.

But there are so many players, so many amazing players, gracious players, that come on and have this style and this flair that I always tried to emulate a little bit when I was a kid.

But my coach always used to bring me back and say, We're creating our style. I think that's probably one of the most magical things that's happened to me.

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