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October 26, 2019

Ashleigh Barty

Shenzhen, China

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can I ask how your fitness is.

Q. You've had one or two injury issues. You're over that?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I mean, at this time of year I feel like you're always managing something. Certainly I'm coming in with no concerns. We had two or three weeks after Beijing to rest and recover. Feeling good for these last couple weeks of the year.

Q. You received the honor of getting a Don. As a cricketer as well as a tennis player, talk about what that meant to you.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I mean, I think the Don Award is named after a very special person in Australian sporting history. I think overall it's a bit of a coincidence that I happened to play cricket as well.

Donald Bradman has been a figurehead in Australian sport for so many years. He set the example for generations, has inspired generations, not only of athletes but of Australians all around our nation.

I think it was an extremely special night to be a very small part of a big celebration of sporting legends in Australia.

I certainly didn't fit in, but it was an incredible, incredible room of people.

Q. I know you've been at the Finals before in doubles. What does it feel like being here in singles? When you were up there with these other seven players, what does it mean to you to be part of this particular group?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It's an incredible group of players, I think. It's very special being here in singles, having had a bit of a taste it in the doubles the last two years. It was really nice.

I think the goal for all singles players is to make the Finals at the end of the year, to be playing against the best of the best to test yourself against the best. Really excited to have an opportunity now after a fantastic year to try and finish really well.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what you were thinking at the start of this year, what you were hoping would happen, and has it been your wildest dreams, first Grand Slam title, all that stuff?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think at this time of the year we set out a bunch of different goals, ranging across results to specifics that I wanted to work on. I feel like we've hit almost all of them, which has been fantastic. We've added a few extras that I didn't really think were goals this year.

It's been an incredibly consistent year across all surfaces, across all continents in the world. I feel like we've played an exceptional level of tennis.

There's a couple weeks left. This week is really rewarding in a sense that it's an enjoyable week, come out here, try to do the best you can, and whatever happens happens.

Q. We see lots of variety in your game. We find the same quality in Andreescu and Halep. Do you think women's tennis is in a time that variety plays a bigger role, that you really have to be capable of doing everything instead of sheer power?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think every single tennis player is unique. Every female tennis player plays a different brand of tennis. My brand is to try and bring as much variety as possible.

But it's hard for me to say much about all the other players because it's the way that they play, the way they want to play.

I just try to focus for myself to bring variety, bring different challenges to my opponent, and see how many times I can test them.

Q. What do you think of the round-robin format here? Do you think it requires a different sort of mentality? Any other tournament you lose a match, you're out. Here you could lose a match and you could still win it.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it is a different challenge. I think it's something that I'm not very used to. Obviously it's a little bit different to what we play throughout the rest of the year. But also in a sense, it's a great opportunity that if you do lose your first or your second match, you've got an opportunity in the coming days to try to rectify that, try and finish your season well.

I think it's a great week where you've got more opportunities to try to bring your best tennis.

Q. What are your first impressions of Shenzhen, the venue, the courts?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It's been fantastic. I've never been here before, so it was really nice to come to a new city. I think over the last two or three years being in China, the growth has been phenomenal.

I think to be able to come to a new place, and for the WTA Finals to kind of start their next chapter here in Shenzhen is going to be really exciting.

Q. It's easy to name a few players and say they play with variety. Each one of you is unique in their own way. From Bianca, from what you've seen, what do you think makes her unique and successful?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Not watching any of her matches or really practicing with her, it's hard to say. I mean, I've watched probably all of two or three games, not even a complete match.

Yeah, obviously she presents different challenges. Having not played a lot of tournaments this year, she's played maybe, what, half a dozen tournaments, done exceptionally well in all of them. It's still very fresh and very new.

Yeah, I mean, having not hit with her, been on the other side of the net, it's hard to comment much.

Q. It seems like this year has developed, even here, that the favorites are different names than we've seen in the past. Is there that feeling and sense in the locker room? Can you address that a little bit?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: In my opinion, I don't think there ever is a favorite. I think everyone is deserving to win that's in the draw. Everyone has earned their place here and has the right to try to do the best they can to try and win.

On any given day, anyone can be beaten. That's the beauty of sport, there are no certainties. There's always an opportunity for someone to try and bring their best. Yeah, I think that's the best thing about sport, there are no certainties.

It's an exciting week. We've all played well throughout the whole year to try to get here. Now it's about trying to bring our best this week, if we can.

Q. In practicing on the courts, practice courts and I presume you've practiced on the main court as well, how is it playing?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It's a little bit different. I think especially for us Aussies, we don't play indoor a lot. It's a little bit of a similar surface to an indoor Fed Cup surface, where it's on boards, a little bit lower bouncing at times, can be a little bit unpredictable with how it reacts to spin. I think sometimes it can be up and down, a little bit different.

But in saying that, it's a beautiful court. We've had a few days to prepare and get used to it. It's no different to any other time we need to give yourself a few days to get used to the court.

It's a little bit different, but certainly having played on it now for a couple days, it's very nice.

Q. Back to the format here. It could come down to games won. Has your team talked about that at all strategy-wise? Do you think that will play in your mind as you're on court?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, not at all. That's not something that I worry about. Each match and each time I prepare to go and play, it's the exact same preparation. Doesn't matter if it's a round-robin or a first round or a final.

I think the way I prepare for that match is exactly the same. I try the best that I can every single point. There's certainly no extra focus on trying to win games or sets or anything like that. It's just about going out there and trying to play the brand of tennis that I want for that match, the way I believe I can win that tennis match.

Q. Belinda Bencic, never played her, I believe. What sort of challenges does she present for you?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I never played Belinda before. I practiced with her once or twice. She's exceptionally good on holding baseline, taking the ball early and putting you under time pressure.

It's important for me to bring some variety in the match, to serve well. I feel like this court, you get rewarded if you serve well, hit your spots. That's a focus for me coming into the match tomorrow.

Yeah, I mean, I'll have to wait and see a little bit. Having not played her, it's a little bit of the unknown. I think it's a match where we'll sit down and try to work a game plan that we think will be effective and go from there.

Q. You've had a few months of experience with the No. 1 next to your name. When it's a tournament that only has the best eight players in the world, does having that No. 1 next to your name feel differently this week?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, not at all. I know I'm in the company of the best of the best this week. Every single match is a challenge. I think it's a great week to finish the year. Without a doubt, it's probably the best week of tennis you could hope to play.

Hopefully all the preparation that we've done, all the work that we're doing getting ready is going to prepare us well to play well this week, hopefully have some really good matches.

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