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July 10, 2021

Ashleigh Barty

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference

A. BARTY/Ka. Pliskova

6-3, 6-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. For a minute or two after you won, it looked like you really couldn't quite believe what had happened. Can you believe it now? Can you tell us what you're feeling?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it was the most incredible feeling I think I've ever experienced on a tennis court. There was certainly disbelief. I think I've worked so hard my whole career with my team and with people that mean the most to me to try and achieve my goals and my dreams. To be able to do that today was incredible.

Q. The nation is celebrating what you've achieved. After 41 years to have the ladies champion. Can you put those sort of feelings into words? You broke down when you mentioned Evonne. For all of us, give us an idea of those sort of moments.

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, Australians have such a rich history in sport, and I think being able to be a very small part of that is something I always dreamt of, try and create a legacy, try and create a path for young girls and boys to believe in their dreams. Being able to kind of live through that and learn my lessons along the way has been some of the best parts of my journey.

To be able to be successful here at Wimbledon, to achieve my biggest dream, has been absolutely incredible. The stars aligned for me over the past fortnight. Incredible that it happened to fall on the 50th Anniversary of Evonne's first title here, too, is absolutely incredible.

Q. A bit more Evonne. That was tough to talk about on the court. I feel like it was such a beautiful moment. Can you talk about what it means to you to complete that circle.

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, Evonne is a very special person in my life. I think she has been iconic in paving a way for young indigenous youth to believe in their dreams and to chase their dreams. She's done exactly that for me as well.

I think being able to share that with her and share some pretty special victories now with her, to be able to create my own path is really incredible, really exciting.

She's just been an icon for years and years, not just on the tennis court. Her legacy off the court is incredible. I think if I could be half the person that Evonne is, I'd be a very, very happy person.

I think being able to have a relationship with her and talk with her through my experience, knowing she's only ever a phone call away is really, really cool.

Q. Now that you've gone all the way, can you take us inside the 25 days between the second round of the French Open and your first-round match. You said after your semifinal you were touch-and-go. How close were you to missing this? What went into getting your body right for the starting line?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, just even chatting to my team now, once we've come off the court, they kept a lot of cards close to their chest and didn't tell me a lot of the odds, didn't tell me a lot of the I suppose information that they'd got from other specialists. There weren't too many radiologists in Australia who had seen my injury. In a sense, it was a two-month injury. Being able to be able to play here at Wimbledon was nothing short of a miracle.

I think them not telling me that just proved how much we were against the odds. I think now to be playing pain-free through this event was incredible. It's funny, sometimes the stars align, you can think positively, you can plan, and sometimes the stars do align, you can chase after your dreams.

Certainly now chatting to them it looked a lot less likely than I felt statistically. I think it's been an incredible month.

Q. There was a lot going on in that match. How did you recompose yourself after the second set? How much did nerves play a part out there in the ups and downs we saw?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think there was some up-and-downs. I think there were small runs of momentum. I think there were small runs of opportunities on second serves from both of us. I felt like we were both able to take advantage when we saw runs of second serves in a row. I think that was the challenge today, was trying to control my service games as clean as possible. I wasn't able to do that every time, but I felt like I was building in the right way.

It was just about going out there and backing myself and trying to execute as best as I could. Yeah, I think trying to serve out the match in the second set, I gave Kaja a look in. She grabbed it with both hands.

I think being able to reset at the start of the third was really important, just for me to continue to turn up each and every point. That's all I was really focusing on, just trying to do the best I could every given point regardless of what the scoreline was.

Q. The start of the match, maybe what was your mindset as that run of points is accumulating? To you did it sort of seem hard to believe that this is the way things are going in your favor? What do you think was the key to such a great start for you?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think those first three or four games in particular, I felt like I found -- I felt like I had time and I felt like I was able to control the court with my forehand a lot of the time.

Yeah, it was a focus of ours today, to try and take Kaja's biggest weapon, her serve, away from her as often as we could. That meant making a lot of returns, putting pressure on her, not allowing her to get a lot of cheap points.

I felt like I did a really good job of that through the first set and for much of the second. She found her spots like a great champion that she is. She dug deep and found a way to claw herself back into the match.

I felt like I was able to go back to the patterns that I wanted to more regularly and put pressure on her throughout the entirety of the match. I think it was always just going to be a couple points here and there that decided it in the end.

Q. Kaja, who obviously played a really good match after a slow start, what you think she showed out there. She's been talked about being one of the best players not to win a Grand Slam yet. How does that performance shape her legacy even in defeat?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, Kaja is an exceptional competitor. I think a lot of the time I feel like she's underestimated. She is one hell of a competitor. She wants it extremely badly. She fights so hard for every point. She's genuinely invested absolutely 100% in every point. You have to bring your best and be engaged for the whole match to compete with her.

She's been a top-10 player for a number of, number of weeks now, one of the most consistent on the tour over the last, I don't know how many years, five or ten years. She's always been there, always been knocking on the door, always giving herself the opportunity.

I know that Grand Slam title for her is not far away.

Q. Besides Evonne's 50-year anniversary, I think many things happened to you in this year, like you played Centre Court opening match because Simona couldn't do that. In that first round you played against Suarez Navarro. Is it like your destiny or something like that?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, the good moments and the tough moments. I think being able to learn from both of them equally is really important as a person, especially as an athlete being able to understand that there are always learnings from every match. From every experience that you need to learn from, there is an opportunity for growth.

I think over the past fortnight, I've had massive, massive amounts of growth, even the last fortnight I think I've grown as a person. Certainly been able to use my experience as a tennis player to get me through some tough matches this week. I felt like I was able to get better and better with each match and trust myself more and more each and every time I stood out on the court.

Q. You were saying how it was a childhood dream realized today to win the title. Was it particularly the Wimbledon singles title when you were growing up the one that was most special for you to win?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think it was. I think for Australians, there is such a rich history here at Wimbledon. For tennis players all over the globe, I feel like Wimbledon is where tennis was born essentially. This is where it all started. This is where so many hopes and dreams were kind of born.

I think being able to understand that as I played here and played here as a junior, was able to experience that incredible week, and as I've said before, some of my toughest moments have come at Wimbledon. Now some of my most incredible moments have come here as well. I think it's just an iconic venue. It's an amazing club. To be able to learn so much from this place, I think I'm a very lucky girl.

Q. You've played this tournament nursing a fairly serious injury. Next two months you have the Olympics and the US Open? Are you physically ready for the challenges ahead?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think the fact that we were physically able to get through the past fortnight has been exceptional. I had the most incredible team of people around me. I put full trust in them, in knowing that they do everything absolutely possible to give myself trust in my body. I think being able to prove that this fortnight has been incredible.

I certainly have no fears about my fitness. Of course, some things will happen. That's normal. That's natural. That's life of being an athlete. But I know that I've got the very best team around me to prepare me in a way as best as we can.

Q. You speak eloquently about process. You just told us this really has been a learning experience over the past two weeks. Can you possibly share or put into words some of the things you've learned?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think from every single match there have been different things that I've learned, whether it's from experience or the tennis itself, the match itself.

But I think being able to experience opening Centre Court here was something I never, never thought would be possible. To be able to do that in such an unusual circumstance, I think it was a massive learning curve.

I had to take learnings from that. Each and every match that I've worked through in this event with my team, we've taken learnings from. Whether it was, like I said, the experiences or the tennis itself.

I think being open to that growth is a massive part of my life, both personally and professionally. It's a massive part of my team as well is allowing ourselves to have open conversations, allowing ourselves to have open communication. Sometimes when it's hard conversations is a big one as well. It's about trusting each other.

I think this fortnight here at Wimbledon we've been tested multiple times and we've been able to come through, all of us, feeling like we've really learnt something.

Q. Around the world you are respected as humble, kind and very nice person. What do you think about it? How important is it for you to be a very good human being along with top class tennis player?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Thank you. That's very kind of you to say.

But I think I've just tried to live by my values that my parents instilled in me. I mean, it's more important to be a good person than it is a good tennis player. So I think that's always my priority, is making sure that I'm a good human being. Being able to learn from my parents and my siblings, my family, was a massive part of my upbringing.

I was just extremely lucky that I was able to have an opportunity to learn how to play the game of tennis. But I think being a good human being is absolutely my priority every single day.

Q. I was wondering about your feelings about winning in Wimbledon, winning in England, after two years where Australia retained the Ashes? Does that have extra meaning for you in terms of feelings?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think Australians, we're sport mad, aren't we? We love it. It's born and bred. I think being able to have all of my experiences all around the world, I'm very lucky to play in a sport that's global, to be able to experience different conditions, different cultures.

I think being able to share those experiences with other athletes from Australia is really cool. Certainly the cricketers, both the men and women, have had incredible success over here in England. They've had heartbreak as well. I think being able to reminisce and share that with them is incredible.

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