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June 19, 2019

Ashleigh Barty

Birmingham, England

A. BARTY/ D. Vekic

6-3, 6-4

Q. It looked like a very good transition for you. Talk about what the last couple of weeks have been like for you and how you feel it went today?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think it was probably as smooth as it could have gone. I felt really good with my feet on the grass. We haven't had a hell of a lot of grass court time because of the weather but in a sense that made it even better because it was fresh, it was new. I could really just play by feel and try and work my way into the match.

And there are still aspects that I want to clean up and do a little bit better but overall really happy with today. It was kind of the perfect match for me. I needed to be ready. Obviously, Donna knows her way around a grass court pretty well, so I needed to be ready and be sharp and it was pretty good today.

Q. What has it been like since Paris? What have you done in that last week or so apart from laundry?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I mean, we just had a couple of quiet days, played a bit of golf at The Belfry and then came here. Nothing's really changed in a sense, everything's been the same for me. It's just been a little bit of down time and preparation building up to here.

It's been an amazing fortnight, an amazing month for me with the amount of support and love that I have received from all around the globe, but in a sense it's still been pretty normal as well.

Q. You love playing on grass. Is it a transition you find relatively easy? Some players really struggle with their clay to grass?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I do find it quite easy. I think because I love playing on it. Once I get back on the grass, I feel like a different person. You know, it's a different tennis match, a different way that the ball is struck and it comes through. But I feel extremely comfortable on it. And I know that it doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to have results or I'm going to feel great on the court straightaway, but certainly knowing that there is not pressure for me and no real worries and stresses about the transition makes it a lot easier.

Q. Do you feel like a Grand Slam Champion? Has it sunk in yet?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I'm not really sure what it is meant to feel like (smiling). I don't feel any different myself. I'm still the same Ash Barty that I was three weeks' ago. I'm the same Ash Barty I was two years' ago.

And I think it is just a development on and off the court and it's been an incredible journey.

Q. What pleased you the most about your level today?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think overall just how clean I was in all aspects. I thought I served well when I needed to. There were times where I wasn't great, but when I needed it, it was there. And I did well to get in on Donna's service games. There were times where she made a lot of first serves in a row and I was able to dig and scrap my way into some points there.

And just overall, I felt like I was pretty clean off the ground. It was just a perfect match for me to kind of dip my toes back in and get used to it again.

Q. Do you ever imagine what it would be like if you didn't come back to tennis and stuck with the cricket?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I mean, there are so many what ifs and it is something that I loved my cricket journey and I enjoyed every single minute of it, but I have no absolutely regrets in coming back to tennis, it was the best decision I ever made.

Q. You won Junior Wimbledon in 2011 and you are obviously French Open Champion. Does that give you much confidence going into Wimbledon?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yes, I have amazing memories at Wimbledon, obviously, not just in singles with the juniors, but in doubles with Casey as well. I have incredible memories there. And I feel every single time you go to the All England Club you learn something new. It's a different experience. It's a magical place, it really is.

I think you can enjoy going there every single time. You are very lucky to play there every time.

Q. Do you get to see how much impact you have on indigenous kids back home in terms of what they can achieve through playing tennis? Do you get to see much of what happens with that impact?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I always keep an eye on it for sure. The opportunities now that are out there for indigenous youth all around the nation in Australia is incredible. It's definitely been a stepping stone and a difference for us, not just in the Northern Territory, not just up in North Queensland, but all across the country, there are more opportunities for indigenous youth to play tennis.

And not just tennis, to get involved at sport at all level, all different sport, and that is a pretty beautiful thing. Now they see -- and it is not just indigenous kids as well. But there is an extra focus for us with indigenous kids of letting them being able to see that there is a career path in sport. And they'll have the support. They will have the structure.

And it's pretty amazing, if I can help in any small part, any small way, shape or form, it's pretty incredible.

Q. Is there any one sport they tend to gravitate towards like the traditional Aussie sports, cricket, swimming?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think probably -- I mean, the most traditional one will be AFL. That's probably the easiest one. You have a ball, you have a field and off you go. And there are so many incredible indigenous athletes playing Australian rules football and so many incredible role models.

And I think if we can be a small part of putting tennis back on the map and giving them more opportunities to play tennis, that is what we are after.

Q. Were there any indigenous athletes in other sports that inspired you when you were growing up?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think obviously the one that comes to mind that's outside of tennis was Cathy Freeman. What she did for Australia. She put indigenous sport back on the map just in general across the whole globe. She was incredible. But there are so many amazing athletes in all different sports with AFL, cricket.

There are some girls in the Australian cricket side, Ash Gardner was in the Ashes squad. She is coming over here in a few days. It is pretty incredible now that you see these filtering of athletes going through all sports. It makes you pretty proud.

Q. How important was it for you growing up, or for kids in general growing up to see people from a similar background achieving things?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It's just nice to know there are those opportunities. It's amazing how sport brings people together. It's accepting of all, of all cultures, of everything. It's a really beautiful thing when you come into a sporting world and it just collectively brings everyone together as a unit and that's what the best thing is.

Q. On Cathy Freeman, was it that particular performance at Sydney that was a catalyst for you?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think that sparked the whole nation, didn't it (smiling)? You ask any Australian what they felt with that performance, it was pretty incredible.

And just the Olympics in general, with the Olympics coming up next year, I think there is always more chat about it, more talk about it, but she was absolutely at the front of everything for us.

Q. A lot of players who have won their first Grand Slam have felt the expectation, have felt the weight on their shoulders. Is that something that concerns you and what can you do to mitigate that?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: That is a nice burden to chuck on me, isn't it (laughing)? No, I think -- look, for me nothing changes. It was an incredible fortnight of tennis that we had without a doubt and some of the best memories of my career will come from those two weeks.

But, as I said, I'm still the same person. I'm still the same Ash Barty and I try and prepare the same way. It was really nice to come out now and kind of get back into a normal routine of playing matches again and yeah, like I said, it's pretty incredible, but nothing's changed for me.

Q. In some ways, is it good that it is such a busy time of year? You have Wimbledon coming up so quick. There is not time to think, it's just next match, next match?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: That's our tennis season. It is an extremely full season as it is. I feel like for me, if anything, it's taken the pressure off. I can just go out and enjoy it, enjoy every single match. It is an opportunity to try and be better and really go out there and just have fun.

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