PRESS CONFERENCE: Ashleigh Barty (l. Kenin) 1R

Tuesday, Aug 6

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
S. KENIN/A. Barty
6-7, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Compared to the first three times that you played Sofia, do you feel her serve has been the thing that’s improved the most when you played her and what helped her today to be able to get past you, besides also maybe your first match on hard court after Wimbledon?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think every match I’ve played Sofia they’ve been in different conditions. I’ve played her twice on clay and once on indoor hard.

I think these conditions are very different. The conditions here are very unique. And I think today I wasn’t able to adapt quickly enough or well enough to play a match of the standard that I expect myself to play and I want myself to play. And Sofia served today in the big moments. She served particularly well and got a lot of free points.

And I think these are courts where you need to be aggressive. You need to be confident and trust yourself and really hit through the ball, and today I didn’t have quite enough of that. And against a player like Sofia, who hits the ball so cleanly and so aggressive and takes it so early, that’s something you need.

And it wasn’t there today, but she played an exceptional match when she needed to, and in the big moments she played some really good stuff.

Q. Did you feel a little bit of rust out there just kind of getting everything kick-started again and how far off do you feel in terms of finding the game that you want to execute on this surface?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I think a little bit of rust, but I think just in general it was just a bit loose. I think at times I was missing by big margins, which is not something that I’m very used to or comfortable with. But, you know, it’s — I mean, it’s not panic stations. It’s my first match on hard court in a long time.

It’s very different conditions here and different coming from home, training in winter at the moment, where the ball is a little bit lower and here it’s quite lively and quick off the racket.

And I think, all in all, I didn’t adjust well enough or quick enough or adapt to the conditions how I needed to.

And, I mean, I have no idea how I was able to get out of that first set and probably should have been bageled in the second and done pretty quickly in the third, as well. So I think, all in all, I was able to find a way to hang in there and make it tricky, but the polish wasn’t there and Sofia was the better player in big moments today.

Q. Could you just share your experience here at Rogers Cup, if you like the tournament?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I love the tournament here. Obviously I would have loved to have a longer stay in singles, but we’re still here in the doubles, so I still get to hang around the beautiful city of Toronto. And obviously enjoyed my time in Montreal last year, as well.

Yeah, hopefully there’s a few more days left here for me.

Q. Based on your memory, how different do the courts in Montreal play to Toronto? Is it night and day vastly different? What is your memory?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it’s very different. I think, even here, day sessions to night sessions change a lot. But in Montreal, it’s a little bit heavier, and it’s a little bit slower off the racket and off the court and off the ball.

But here it’s very lively, and I remember that from a couple of years ago playing through quallies. It took me two or three matches to feel comfortable on these courts. Unfortunately, this week I didn’t have that luxury of having time to work my way into it.

And we knew that today it was probably not going to be perfect tennis and it wasn’t going to be, you know, the standard that I was playing through those European months where I was playing a lot of tennis. It has been a month since I’ve played a singles match, and I have to cut myself some slack a little bit.

But in saying that, I did all the preparations well. I did everything to the best of my ability, and today it wasn’t good enough.

Q. Earlier today Vika, we talked to her in the presser, and she gushed about you, talked about how your humor is just so well-known on tour and just the personality that you express has always been just a benevolent kind of personality overall. What’s the funniest story you have with Vika on the court, off the court, and how your bond with her has grown over the last year and more?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I mean, Vika is an incredible person. She really is. And I think what you see on the tennis court and the competitor that is Victoria Azarenka is very different to the person that Vika is. She’s a lovely, down-to-earth girl. Extremely humble, but driven and passionate about what she does.

I think we have some funny stories on court and things that we chat about. We keep it pretty light. We’re not trying to take ourselves too seriously. We want to compete and do the best we can but also enjoy it and have fun. I think a lot of the time during matches we’re either talking about Leo or my niece and nephew and keeping it pretty light at the change of ends.

But she’s an exceptional person. It’s been really nice to get to know her over the last 12 months, I suppose.

And, yeah, I mean, it’s just been a nice doubles partnership that we’ve formed this year. We’ve had some success, which has been really good. And it’s nice to see her, as well, starting to really find some of her best tennis on the singles court as well.

Q. We saw some tape on your shoulder out there. How is the shoulder feeling and is it injury prevention or what is that related to.

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it was just a little bit of prevention. Just adjusting to conditions. Obviously, here, the balls are a little bit higher, so it was a little bit more stress on my shoulder these first couple of days hitting.

But, yeah, it was more a preventative thing. And once it warmed up, it was good as gold.

Q. Concerns about the world No. 1 after this result?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I mean, it’s not in my control, is it? I don’t have much say for the rest of the week.

But, no, it’s not something I focus about or worry about. I came here and tried to do my best and, you know, it wasn’t enough today.

But, yeah, I mean, as for that, I have no control over the rest of the week, and I’m not sure who can take it. But whoever it is, if they play well enough and, you know, they haven’t given up points or whatever it is, they deserve to take the ranking.

Q. Just following up on that, do you tend to be aware of who has to do what and what you have to do, or do you try to stay away from all of that?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, I couldn’t tell from you a bar of soap what’s going on with the rankings. It’s not something that I worry about or focus on. You know, I try and do the best that I can every single day, and that’s all it is.

Q. Could you explain a little bit more? Is that because you feel being No. 1 is not that important to you or do you feel that all of that can be a distraction on the court?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I think regardless of whether it’s No. 10, it’s No. 50, 200 or it’s No. 1, it’s just a number next to your name. It doesn’t define you as a person or a player.

I think, yes, you have some different experiences. And obviously, the closer you are to that world No. 1 ranking, it means you’ve played some exceptional tennis.

I mean, I’m just trying to go about it the right way every single day and keep chipping away, keep trying to do all the right things.

For me, over the last — even the last seven months of this year, the stars have aligned. I’ve played some great tennis. Not too many matches where I have been disappointed, and I think that’s the beauty of it. I’ve had a very, very consistent year and have earned that No. 1 spot.

But if next week I’m not No. 1, I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep over it.

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