April 28, 2021
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I'm writing an article about playing lefties and the challenges. Your part of the draw has three lefties, although actually the most you could face is one. Do you look at the draw and say, I have to find someone to practice with? How much extra attention do you devote to it when you have a lefty that you're facing?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Not a lot. I would never look forward to the draw and try and predict who I may or may not play. It's about taking that one match at a time.
If I happen to play a left-hander, then yes, at times we will try and find a left-hander to warm us up, more for the serve than anything else. Also playing doubles with Casey for many years, I have seen millions of left-handed serves over my time. Not something that concerns me at all, no.
Q. Welcome to Madrid. You said to Courtney after you won Miami that Madrid was a little bit a game changer for you in 2019. How does it feel to come back to that place?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it's nice. It's nice to be back here. Feels like it's been a long time since I was last here in Madrid, and obviously it's been a very quick preparation compared to last time I think. Last time I was here for three, four, five days beforehand practicing, and today was my first time practicing on these courts.
Obviously a quick preparation, but I'm looking forward to getting started tomorrow and playing here again.
Q. What about the venue? La Caja Magica, the Magic Box, as they call it, is quite different. How would you describe it?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it is different. It feels almost indoors in a way, but it's a beautiful court. I think the three main courts are beautiful. They play exceptionally well.
Yeah, I haven't had a chance to hit on them yet, but I'm hoping that we will. But obviously it's a great facility here. We are very well looked after and it's always nice being back here in Madrid.
Q. You're coming off of a wildly successful week in Stuttgart and here it is just a few days later and you're in Madrid. How difficult is it to reset and focus on a brand new tournament?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think it's not difficult in a way to reset or kind of know that it's a clean slate, but obviously at times preparation can be quite short, which is what we faced here. Conditions are very different here to what they were in Stuttgart.
So there will be an adjustment period throughout my first match and that's okay. We just accept that and we just do the best that we can. But we know that we have played in these conditions before at this tournament, so knowing that you're comfortable is okay. You just have to allow yourself to play and to get on with it.
Q. The fact that you have been drawn to play Shelby Rogers again, and I believe this is the fourth time you will have faced her this year, does that pose any challenges or make it any easier that your first match is against someone you're quite familiar with?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it seems this year we're going to be playing once a month (smiling). Yeah, it's strange playing someone so regularly, and I think sometimes that's how the draws go. You can play someone time and time again or you can never see them on your side of the draw for years.
So it's always an exceptionally tough match against Shelby. She's proven that she knows how to play on a clay court, has had success at Roland Garros before, and it's always a challenge.
So I have to go out there, have to be very sharp from the start, and I have to try and bring the match back on my terms as quickly and as regularly as possible.
Q. What are the key adjustments that you will have to make, just given the different conditions obviously, even possibly a bigger jump in adjustment than even Miami to Charleston it seems like?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It is different conditions here. I think probably the biggest thing is the change of balls and the change of altitude. It certainly does travel through the air a lot quicker and for longer.
I think even just hitting today, like I said, I was at our first practice session today hitting with Kiki, there was an adjustment. It was a little bit rough to start off with, but you adapt, you adjust, you try and reign it in to what suits as quickly as possible.
Yeah, I mean, the courts here are extremely receptive to spin. They are bouncy. Can be quick when it's warm. They can be slow if it's rainy and cold. So I think it's more just adapting to whatever conditions you're playing on in that given day.
Q. Wanted to ask about the Australian challenge here this week. I noticed that Tomljanovic has made it through to the main draw. Just a little bit wider on that, I noticed that Astra Sharma won the other week. Any thoughts about women's tennis in Australia and how it's going at the moment and your responsibility in a way to give inspiration to all of the other girls?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I don't feel like it's my responsibility at all. They are all in their own careers and making their own choices, but it's certainly nice to see fellow Aussies having success. I feel like we are in a strong place in Australia, probably the strongest we have been for a number of years now.
It certainly brought a massive smile to my face to see Astra win her first title. She had been through a couple of tough defeats late in tournaments, so to be able to see her kind of get over that final hurdle was incredible. And Ajla, she turns up every single week. She plays quality tennis every single week and always puts herself out there. It's always nice to see her winning matches and giving herself a chance in big tournaments, as well.
Q. I wondered if you're aware you're on an 11-match winning streak on red clay...
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I can't hear you at all.
Q. I wondered if you knew that you were on an 11-match winning streak on red clay since back before the 2019 French Open. Given your attitude towards clay before that tournament where you said, I'm basically just waiting for the grass season to start, I wondered between now and then how your approach to clay has changed and whether your confidence has grown on it.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Okay. I think I caught about an eighth of that, but you're saying something...
THE MODERATOR: You're on an 11-match winning streak on red clay. That's about all I got, as well.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Something about how I... What was the second part of it?
Q. Just wondered whether your confidence has grown on clay since.
ASHLEIGH BARTY: Obviously it's nice to be back on red clay. Red clay changes from week to week, and you have to adapt, have to adjust.
Stuttgart was the first time I had ever experienced that type of clay probably as quick as it was and a little bit different underfoot. Certainly indoors is different.
I just try and get as comfortable on the surface as quickly as possible, whether it's here in Madrid where it's a little bit flighty, can be quite quick when it's warm or can be slow if it's heavier. I think you just try and adapt as quickly as you can to those conditions and try and implement that into each and every match.
Q. I just wanted to know, you're now sort of two-and-a-half months into your world tour, and how are you bearing up? I know you miss home and everything else, but how is it going? Are you happy?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I'm always happy (smiling). I think we are at Day 41 since I left Australia, not that I'm counting.
No, look, I'm good. I'm very grateful to be doing what I love. Ultimately I get an opportunity to do what I love. I get to do it here with part of my team. Tyz is here with me. Obviously not my full team, but I know that they are watching at home and they are riding the wave with us.
Certainly no complaints from my end. Nothing to be negative about at all. It's all positive here. We have been busy, we have been playing matches, and we are all good.
Q. Watching you last week, it was tremendous. Your all-court game is a delight to watch. Is one of your aims this year to become kind of like the master of all of the surfaces? It's a pretty rare feat when somebody wins tournaments on clay, grass, and hard in the same season. Do you think you're capable of doing that this year?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: I'll give it a crack. You know, I'm not entering the grass courts just to lose them. We go out there, approach it like we do every single week regardless of what surface it's on. We go out there with the right attitude, and we try and execute our game plan and our tennis as best we can.
Q. I wanted to find out from you, you have shown an incredible ability to focus on the present moment during your matches. I was wondering, how did you learn the mental side of the game so well and to be able to apply it match after match, especially looking at the matches that you won in Stuttgart coming from a set down?
ASHLEIGH BARTY: It's all learning. I'm still continuing to learn every day from both my experiences and the processes that I have put in place with my team and my mentor over the past few years, is to try and continue to get stronger, to get stronger mentally, to get stronger physically and as a tennis player, as well.
So I think, you know, it's just a part of a game for me. It's like any other muscle. I try and work on it as best that I can and make it stronger and stronger.
So I think you only learn from some pretty rough experiences, as well. When you get kicked down, you've got to get back up again. I think that's when you learn the most. It's important to experience that as well and take the learnings from the tough moments.
I think that, you know, your greatest growth does come from your darkest times. I think it's important to be able to recognize that and learn from it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports