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November 3, 2019

Ashleigh Barty

Shenzhen, China

A. BARTY/E. Svitolina

6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How does it feel?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Bizarre, if I'm being completely honest. It feels like it's been a year that just hasn't stopped. It's been a year of incredible ups and downs, I think more ups than downs. To cap it off with a very, very special night tonight in Shenzhen is really cool.

Q. What made the difference tonight compared with your other five meetings with Elina?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think a slight shift in tactics and execution first and foremost. In the other matches, particularly in Indian Wells, I had opportunities. Had set points in the first set, breaks up and things like that.

Tonight it felt like it was a lot more clear, a lot more concise from my end. I took my opportunities when I got them tonight. Pretty happy to play that kind of level of a match in such a big match.

Q. Four top-10 wins this week. I think you're the first world No. 1 to win this title since Serena in 2014. Is it really satisfying to underline your season in that sort of manner?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I mean, to come through a week like this, you have to beat the best of the best. I think it kind of takes me back to some memories in Miami where I felt like I did that for the first time, beating back-to-back top-10 players, having that really consistent week.

I've grown and developed so much since that fortnight in Miami. I think, yeah, the week that we've had, to be able to bounce back after the disappointment after my match with Kiki was really important.

I think now to be here, to be in a position where we finished off our season in the best way possible is just remarkable. I'm very lucky to be able to share that with Tyz, my physio, kind of everyone that's here with me.

Q. On the tactics side, you talked about that's something else you implemented. It looked like you were using your forehand inside-in a lot. Was that one of the tactics you wanted to implement?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think that shot comes naturally to me. I feel like when I can get forehands from that side of the court, when I'm hitting it well, I can go either way.

That was a side that I wanted to try to get into tonight. I think it was also important for me to move forward, then to try to bring Elina in a few times as well, which worked really well.

I feel like overall it was more about how I played the bigger points. I felt like I did that very well tonight.

Q. A great way to cap your season, but the season's really not over. Can you address having to go on, Fed Cup final ahead.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, there's one more very important week to cap off what would be the most perfect year. This Fed Cup final is something I've been looking forward to for a long time. It's been two or three years in the making for the current team that we've got. It's taken a lot of work, a lot of trust from Alicia.

I can't wait to get to Perth in the next couple days and then start preparing for what will be the most perfect way to end a season, playing for your country, for myself to play in front of my friends and family, representing Australia, wearing the green and gold. There's absolutely nothing better.

Q. Looking at what you've achieved this week, this year, what Bianca has done, Naomi, do you feel we're well and truly into a new era for women's tennis?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I don't think there's such a thing as a new era. I think there's still some domination from some of the older players that actually aren't that old, they've just been around a long time, have been at the very highest level for a long time.

From my perspective, because I'm one of the fresher faces, it's nice to have a few fresh faces at the top of the game. I think the most amazing thing is the depth in the women's game at the moment. Anyone in the top 20, 30, 40 has the ability to win tournaments, is doing well and going deep in big tournaments.

Q. There's was very nice short video showing all your achievements in the ceremony. What went through your mind at that moment?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It's just been the most incredible season. I think a lot of the small moments, a lot of the kind of the smaller matches or little important moments I kind of have forgotten about. I think I'm going to enjoy some time at the end of this season to kind of watch back and live through those again.

I think in particular will be the French Open final. I think that's a match that I'm very keen to sit down and watch again and just kind of be able to relax and just watch it and enjoy it.

Q. You have achieved a lot of things this year. Which is the one you are proud of the most and why?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: That's a really tough one I think because there have been so many different moments throughout the year that I've been extremely proud of myself and some maybe less obvious to the rest of the world than it is to me, some of the bigger moments to be able to kind of get through matches.

One that springs to mind is the semifinal at the French Open. I think for me it's always Fed Cup. It's always representing your country, trying to do the best that you can when you're playing not only for yourself but for your nation.

Hopefully there's one more very special memory about seven days away that we can celebrate.

Q. I know there's still the Fed Cup to come. If you can reflect what can get better in your game, is there something you think you can improve and keep that No. 1 ranking?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Everything, every day. It's very cliché. There are parts of my game that have improved a lot this year. Those parts I'll always continue to work on. I work on all facets of my game every day whether it's physically off the court, mentally off the court, or tactically when I'm actually on the court, how do I handle the big situations.

I feel like all of those things have collectively grown this year. They've developed. I've become a better person and a better player. I'm still extremely hungry to try and see what the best kind of version of Ash Barty there is and the best I can bring.

Q. Obviously top players don't compete for prize money but for the title. But could you explain what does it feel like to earn more than $10 million U.S. in this season. We common people don't have the opportunity to experience it.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I feel like you're setting me up for failure there (smiling).

Look, it's been an incredible season. Money aside, it kind of means nothing to me. I know I have the love and the support of my family. I try and work hard every single day to chase my dreams. Regardless of how many zeros is sitting in my bank account, it doesn't change the way I live my life, who I am and how I live as a person.

I think even though it's incredible, we're breaking records this week in particular, putting tennis on the map, putting WTA tennis on the map. I feel like we've earned that right to be recognized more as a global sport.

For me, it doesn't change a thing regardless of what is sitting in the bank account.

Q. Compared to your first Premier Mandatory and Grand Slam, did you change mentally and tactically?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Small adjustments more than anything. No drastic changes. Just little adjustments in different moments. I feel like tonight it came down to execution. It was about me trying to execute our game plan as best as possible. I feel like we did that.

Q. I don't know if you know this, Brisbane and Shenzhen are sister cities. That's an official thing.

Q. The government.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Very cool. So I'm at home here. Why not?

Q. I know it's a long time since you took a break from tennis, but do you think when you made that decision to take a break, could you ever have envisaged being in this situation now: word No. 1, Grand Slam champion, to be a Finals champion?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Not at all. Not at all. I felt like for me, that kind of period of my life that I had away from tennis, away from professional tennis, was really important for my development as a person more than anything, regardless of the tennis player.

When I started hitting balls again probably in February 2016, it feels like a long, long time ago now, but it was also when I started the journey with Tyz. For us, we wanted to try and see what we were capable of as a team.

Our team has grown and developed from there. I think for us, it's just been a really special year to know that kind of the sky is the limit. We've played some exceptional tennis this year. We've had some heartbreaking moments and we've had every emotion in between.

We're just trying to get better every single day. That's the reason why we're working so hard every single day, is to enjoy the journey, enjoy the story of my life I suppose. I'm very grateful that I get to share that with him.

Q. You said you never imagined this would happen. Now that you have achieved all these things, are you allowing yourself to raise the expectations? What would be one of your wildest dreams in this sport?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think give me half an hour to let it sink in first and foremost. Give me a week at home with a few beers on the couch where I can kind of relive what has happened in 2019. It's just been a crazy year, it really has. At times it felt like a circus going around and around.

Yeah, I think it's going to be really nice to be able to sit down, reflect and then refresh and re-gear and get ready to go for a massive 2020. I mean, for us Australians, we're extremely lucky to be able to start that month in Australia. It's going to be a really, really special time in my life.

Q. I know you say the money isn't important, but I'm just wondering, do you treat yourself to some kind of present after a year like this? Anything when you were younger you said, I always wanted to have...
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Not really. I'm pretty boring. I don't really spend a lot on myself. I like to obviously spoil my family. I'm in a position where I can spoil my niece and nephew. But I'm certainly not one that lives an extravagant lifestyle. I'm pretty happy in my little house at home. I've got everything that I need.

Q. When you quit tennis at age 18, I don't understand how you were so smart to do that. Did you have any doubts telling yourself if it's the right thing to do? At 23 you seem to be talking like somebody who has had two or three lifetimes.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think at the time I didn't have the clarity in my mind to think it was a smart decision. For me it was the only decision. It was the only kind of feasible option for me to maybe have a future in the sport. I needed to take some time away. I needed to refresh, give myself a chance to really realize what I wanted in life.

I think I was lucky enough to have very good people around me to kind of guide me, also allow me to make my own decisions, become more accountable. I feel like in that time away from tennis I did that. I matured obviously. I had a couple years where I grew as a person.

Then when I came back into the sport, it was about me making my own decisions and being completely 100% all in and accountable for all of my actions and decisions that I made.

Q. You won a trophy in Zhuhai. A year apart, you are the champion in Shenzhen. How do you feel looking back this year, any improvement this year?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it's been an incredible progression from when I played in Zhuhai this time last year. For me to be able to cap off my 2018 season in Zhuhai felt very special. It kind of allowed me to reset goals for 2019, dream that little bit bigger.

Now to have the year we've had in 2019 has been incredible. I feel like we've worked incredibly hard to try to put ourselves in the biggest occasions on our tour, on the court. I'm very fortunate to be sitting here tonight knowing that we've had such a great season.

Q. You were in the final of the US Open for doubles. Next year do you have any plans with the doubles with Azarenka or any other players?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Doubles has always been a massive part of my tennis career. There are times this year where singles has taken priority. I still enjoy playing doubles. I will still play doubles. We will pick and choose tournaments that we like to play at times if I need more matches.

But I love to try and play doubles, as well. Whenever we do play, we're trying to do the best that we can to go as far and as deep in the tournaments as possible.

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