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June 21, 2019

Ashleigh Barty

Birmingham, England

A. BARTY/V. Williams

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You have just beaten Venus Williams and you're on a 10-match winning streak. How are you feeling?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, obviously I feel great. I feel like every match is getting a little bit better and better on the grass, and it's just nice to give myself another opportunity to get on the grass courts and to play another singles match.

It's always a privilege to play against a champion like Venus. She's done incredible things for our sport. She's inspired generations to pick up a tennis racquet. Any time you get to play against her, it's a real privilege.

Q. You were down in that first set. What did you do to compose yourself to get back in the match?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, early on I gave her a few too many looks at second serves. When I had looks at second serves, I wasn't able to make enough returns early on.

That was a key component that I needed to try to fix up. Once I was able to do that, I felt like I was in control of most of the match. It was important to try and keep my foot on the pedal, because Venus can take games away from you pretty quickly.

Q. You're in the semifinals next. When do you allow yourself to think I can actually win this tournament?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Not for at least one more match. I think it is very cliché, and those thoughts are there, but it's most important for me to only focus on my next match.

That's how I've gotten to this point is focusing on one match at a time and just preparing and doing everything that I possibly can to make sure that I'm ready for that match. I'll do the same for tomorrow.

Q. Venus' forehands, from high up in the stands, look so fierce. What's it like to face that? What were your strategies in trying to cope with that?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, Venus has such a powerful game off both wings. Absolute world-class backhand she can put in either way, and it was important for me to try to get into her forehand as much as I could, because I think that forehand-to-forehand pattern was one that I wanted.

Yeah, at times she can take the ball away from you pretty quickly. It was more about court positioning and where I put my ball.

Q. You said at the end of the match when you won, talking to the presenter, that you have no plans to still be playing when you're her age. Do you have any idea what you'd like to be doing at 39? Any post-tennis plans on the horizon?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I will worry about that a little closer to when I am 39, I think.

Q. I saw Judy Murray here earlier. Andy had said he had asked to partner up and you had turned him down. Do you want to give us more on why you turned him down? He seemed pretty much upset about it.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, when Andy texted me asking me to play, I was a little bit shocked, to be honest. Obviously I would have loved to have grabbed the opportunity to play with Andy, and I think it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make as to whether I'm playing an event or not.

I took some time to think about it, and, yeah, playing three events is just a little bit too much. I had already made a commitment to play with Vika. I think it was the hardest decision for me to say no. When a champion asks you to play at any stage, I was very flattered and honored, and I said to him, I think there are some pretty good options out there for you.

But, yeah, we were chatting about it prior to the French starting, but I'm sure he'll find someone.

Q. Thinking about who would be a great partner for him, Barbora Strycova has already put her name into the hat. If you were to choose a partner for him as a gift for turning him down, who do you think would be a good match for him?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think Vika played with Jamie last year, if I'm not mistaken. I'm not sure if they are playing against this year, but I think, I mean, there will be a million people lining up for Andy.

He can take his pick. Whoever he thinks will complement his game the most and he can go out there and have fun with will be the one. It was nice to see him playing yesterday. You can see how much he missed it, how much he loves it. I think the whole world was watching. I don't think there was a person in the tennis world around the planet that wasn't happy to see him out there again.

Q. Just on the subject of Vika, what is it about her game that you feel complements your game in doubles?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Well, I think first and foremost, Vika is an incredible girl. She really is sweet. We get along off the court really well. It's been nice to get to know her on a personal note as well as a professional note.

Yeah, she's a well-established, accomplished doubles player. She didn't play as much over the last few years, but she knows her way around a doubles court. It's really nice to have someone, as well, who can hit that big off the baseline to allow me to try and work my way in and around the net a little bit more.

She's absolutely more than competent at the net by herself. She has a complete game, and I think we just complement each other well.

Q. There is a possibility of being world No. 1 if things go well. Is that a goal that you had in mind for a while? Because it's happened so quickly, does it come as a surprise?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it has happened very quickly. I think a goal of mine this year was to crack the top 10 and really get my teeth stuck deep into slams. That was probably my two biggest goals going into this year was trying to get into that world top 10 and go deep in slams.

We have been able to do that with the process that we have been doing. You know, the journey we have been on has been incredible. If world No. 1 happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. It's certainly not something I'm stressed about. If I keep putting myself in the right position and doing the right things, it may come, but if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It would be incredible, absolutely incredible. It would. But, you know, for the time being, I just have to try and think about my preparations and keeping everything exactly the same and doing what I have been doing to get myself to this point.

You know, it's been working more times than not. There haven't been too many matches this year where I have walked off the court disappointed. I think that's the best thing is, win or lose, I know if I go about it the right way, I can walk off the court with a smile.

Q. Now that you have had this discussion with Andy and the possibility, is it something that you could keep in mind for future slams that you might enjoy at some point?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I have played mixed in previous slams before, and it was just over the last year or so that we decided I'd just focus on singles and doubles as opposed to playing all three formats, but, you know, hopefully, from Andy's point of view, he's back on the singles court soon and he's in the same boat where he doesn't want to play three events. He wants to focus on his singles and make sure his body is right to do that.

Q. You have had a great year so far. Where do you think you have improved in your game that's allowed you to sort of take your performances to the next level?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: To be honest, I think a general improvement across everything. I think my game is developing in a way, it's moved me in the right direction. I feel like I'm becoming a more complete player. That's always been a goal of mine was to make sure that I have all of the shots and I have all of the options.

It's also about making the right decisions. I feel like I have been doing that a lot better this year. I have been looking after my service games, which is always a key part of my game. Trying to get into return games as often as possible. I think, all in all, the stars have aligned a little bit and we have done the work and it's paying off.

Q. You mentioned making good decisions. Do you think there has been a mental improvement, as well? Do you think that's been an important step to take to be able to sort of capitalize when you're on top in matches?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Incredibly so. I think it goes hand in hand. You can't win a tennis match just purely on tennis, but you also can't win a tennis match purely on your mental ability.

I think it has to go hand in hand. I have an amazing team around me that help me with both of those components of my game and all facets of my game.

Very much everyone on my team is on the same page and we enjoy each other's company, and we make sure we are relaxed and have fun. But when it's time to play, we do everything possible to give myself the chance to win that tennis match.

Q. (Question about Venus' serving.)
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I mean, I know that Venus isn't doing it on purpose. It's one of those things that it happens every now and again in a match. No, I mean, she's playing to the rules, playing to her pace.

You know, even though I play quite quickly as opposed to some other players, it's certainly not something that bothered me, really.

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