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February 11, 2021

Ashleigh Barty

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

A. BARTY/D. Gavrilova

6-1, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk to us a little bit about your friendship with Casey, what she means to you.

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I was going to try to stitch her up, get everyone to sing happy birthday. That didn't really work out as planned. I'll have to take her to dinner tonight and sing it to her myself, I think (smiling).

Q. What do you make of that? Looking like a really straightforward one at 5-2 in the second set, you found yourself in a tiebreaker.

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think doing all the right things up until that point, then I feel like I a little bit just lost my way tactically, more with just having the right intent and going about it the right way.

Even if I did miss, I wanted to miss in the right way. I just kind of lost that a little bit through that second set. But happy in the end to be able to get through in straight and kind of stay alive.

Q. Was it a concentration thing?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, I think it's natural. I mean, I haven't played a lot of tennis over the last 12 months. Obviously going to have ebbs and flows not only in your concentration but your level of play as well. It's important to be able to bring that back as often as possible. For a couple games, I wasn't able to do that. A much better game at 5-6, to be able to reset, kind of go from there, push it towards a tiebreak, which again was tight, but some of the misses was better misses in a way of trying to do the right thing.

Q. You spoke on court about the conditions changing. Does Melbourne Park change more than any other sort of tournament site in terms of the way it plays from day-to-day?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think it can, probably similar to the French Open in a way where the weather can really determine how you have to play, how you have to string your racquets, how you have to adjust.

Yeah, challenging at court level, Rod Laver Arena can get quite swirly. Often you can't feel that sitting up in the stands. One end always feels like you're kind of downwind, downhill. A little bit different, a bit of an adjustment.

I have played in different conditions enough to be able to try and figure out my way and kind of learn on the fly a little bit and how to adjust in a match. Yeah, just happy to be able to play some of the bigger points well when I needed to today.

Q. What was going through your head when you dropped those four games in a row in the second set?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think more than anything I probably felt like the set was turning into a bit of a prickly pear really. I was doing the right things to get to 5-2 to give myself a chance to serve out the match. Just lost my way a little bit.

But in the end happy to be able to bring it back around in the tiebreak when I needed to and win some big points.

Q. You had the bandaging on. What is the go there?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: The bandage is very big, but that's more just support so that the tape itself doesn't fall off. It's not a very subtle tape job, you often see it on a lot of the girls. The guys can hide it beneath their shorts a little bit better.

Just a little bit of support. I played a lot of matches in the last 10 days after not playing for 12 months, which is natural. It's more of an assistance than anything else.

Q. After Tuesday night?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, it came on early Tuesday, warming up for the match. But, yeah, obviously it's not affecting the way that I can play in any way. It's just more giving the leg some assistance to make sure it doesn't get to a point where it's going to affect me.

Q. (No microphone.)

ASHLEIGH BARTY: My leg muscle (smiling).

Q. You've touched before on the connections you have on the tour, coming back. Dasha is obviously someone you've known for a long time. How has it felt being back around those you weren't seeing for 11 months last year?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it's different. It brought a smile to my face genuinely, especially a few of the girls that I kept in contact with throughout the year. Simona, Petra. I didn't get to see Kiki or (indiscernible). Those are probably the four girls I chat most to. Brought a smile to my face to be able to see them again, not just text them by WhatsApp, and actually catch up with them about how they're going in their life, not just as a tennis player.

It was nice to be able to see them, have a chat, kind of learn about what they did throughout last year. Some of them played, some of them didn't. They played different schedules. It was all an adjustment for everyone living in different parts of the world.

Q. I was wondering if you could describe what you think having the tournament with fans in the stands tells the rest of the world about hope.

ASHLEIGH BARTY: That's a great question.

As a playing group, as the WTA and the ATP as well, the ITF obviously with the Australian Open, I think we've put a lot of trust in all of the professionals down here to make the right decisions for the right reasons, and know they can run a tournament safely. I think that's a real bonus for us to be able to have that connection with the fans, to be able to share these moments with them as well.

I think that's a really positive thing. We just have to know we've put the trust in the right people to make the right decisions, and ultimately make it an experience that everyone is going to remember for the right reasons.

Q. What would you hope the rest of the world is thinking as it watches this tournament?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I hope it's bringing a smile to their face, knowing there's some entertainment, some sport to watch. Everyone in the world is in a bit of a unique situation depending on where they're living. I know that obviously every single day things can change quite rapidly as it has over the last 12 months with this pandemic. It almost seems like every 24 hours there's a change somewhere around the world.

All in all hopefully at the moment everyone is as safe as they can possibly be, then they can enjoy the fact that we're able to play, we have the opportunity to play down here in Australia. I know as a playing group, we're very grateful for that.

Q. It seemed the crowd at times was a bit confused who to go for with a couple of fan favorites out there. Taking on a friend, how difficult is it to compartmentalize that and how does that change how you go throughout the match?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think Dasha and I have played enough times now, we more than have the respect for each other that when we cross the white line, we go out there and play hard. At the end of the day when we shake hands and go back into the locker room, you're still friends. You still have that relationship off the court.

We respect each other enough to play hard, play fair, then at the end of the day the result doesn't actually matter, doesn't really matter in the end.

Q. Can you look ahead to playing Alexandrova. A player that made great strides while you were on the sidelines. Do you know much about her as an opponent? What do you expect?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I'm assuming that's who I'm playing next.

Q. Yes.


I've never hit with her. That's a new one for me. I think that's the time for Tyz and I to sit down and do our homework. Tyz is extremely diligent with all the work that he does. He's the best in the business. I'm very fortunate to have him in my corner.

We'll kind of sit down and work from there, try and work out a game plan as best that we can. Then it's about I suppose the challenge of now having someone that I haven't played against that I can go out there and test myself against.

She's obviously playing some very good tennis, had a great week last week as well. Certainly has got her foot firmly set in the season, is going ahead well.

Q. How surprised are you that the defending champion is out?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Surprised because I just found out.

Q. Kenin lost in straight sets.


Q. What does that do, if anything, for you?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Doesn't affect me whatsoever. I've just been playing my own match and controlling what I can control from my end. Without even being aware that she was playing today, no disrespect to anyone, but I don't look much at the schedule except for when I'm scheduled to play.

Yeah, I'm not really sure how you want me to answer that one.

Q. Does it speak to the depth of the women's game of just how incredibly deep it continues to get?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, of course. Of course. There are no easy matches. There are no easy matches in any tour event, any slam, anything. I think every time you walk on the court, you have to try and be able to bring your best tennis to be able to compete with everyone. That's just the level that there is now on the women's side. That's something really exciting about women's tennis now, is that every single match, it's a fair match. You go out there, you play hard, you try to do the best that you can.

Q. When you look at the two matches you played so far, 0-0, then 1-6, what do you need to do going into the next match to keep things more on an even keel?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Learn from my last two matches and put that experience into the next one. That's what we do every single time we play. We learn from not only the past results and the past experiences over that week of the tournament, but also what I've been doing the last four, five, six years, learn from that every single day and take that into my next match as best I can.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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