Ash Barty is already sick of the sight of her face plastered all over Melbourne but feels she is as well prepared as possible for a shot at ending her country's 42-year wait for a homegrown Australian Open champion.
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MELBOURNE: Ash Barty is already sick of the sight of her face plastered all over Melbourne but feels she is as well prepared as possible for a shot at ending her country's 42-year wait for a homegrown Australian Open champion.
The world number one cannot have had much time to check out the city on Sunday having hot-footed it from South Australia, where she beat Dayana Yastremska on Saturday evening to win the Adelaide International.
It was the bubbly 23-year-old's first title triumph on home soil and Barty said she was determined to make the most of her annual one-month opportunity to enjoy success in front of her compatriots.
"It's the perfect preparation but regardless of whether I won the title or not … I feel like I'm well-prepared," she told reporters.
"I'm happy, I'm healthy. I'm coming into the first Grand Slam of the year with a smile on my face. That's all I can ask of myself."
The weight of local expectation surrounding Barty has ratcheted up since she joined the Grand Slam winners' club at last year's French Open before becoming the first Australian woman to top the world rankings since Evonne Goolagong-Cawley.
Barty said she felt no extra pressure and could not wait to get out on court on Monday to face Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in front of what will be a partisan Rod Laver Arena crowd.
"It's amazing to have so much support and so much love from the Australian public. I've really felt that in an exceptional way over the last 12 months. It's been incredible," she said.
"I think it's a bit of a feeling when you walk out on the court, it'Read More – Source