‘The women’s game is getting so strong,’ says world number one Ashleigh Barty

Ashleigh Barty says women’s tennis is in a good place with lots of depth and that no-one should be underestimated.

Barty steamrollered through the first round of the Australian Open beating opponent Danka Kovinic with a double bagel (6-0, 6-0) dropping only ten points all match.

It’s an impressive start for the world number one who won her ninth singles title at the Yarra Valley Classic last week.

But it’s even more impressive when you consider that Barty hasn’t played competitively for almost a year, choosing to sit out of the disrupted 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.

Now the Australian, who won the French Open in 2019, has retained the world number one status due to protected ranking and is aiming to become the first homegrown champion at the Australian Open since 1978.

“I think more than anything is you’re seeing that the WTA, the women’s game is getting so strong, the depth is incredible,” said Barty.

“You certainly can’t underestimate anyone. So that’s almost a part of the sport that I’m going to enjoy more and more as it goes on is that every single round is a challenge.

“Every single opponent deserves to be here and has the right to press you as much as possible.”

When asked about her impressive first round win and her ambitions for the tournament, Barty replied: “I feel like I want that intent every single time I walk on the tennis court.

“I want to be the best version of myself, and whether that’s No 1 in the world or it’s No10 or whatever number that is.

“It’s more about bringing out the best version of myself every single time. It’s been nice to be back.

“Certainly challenging myself and enjoying the fact that I’m in a position where I get to do something that I love and make a career out of it.

“I think worrying about the ranking and focusing on the ranking isn’t really in my mind, but having the intent to be the best version of myself every day certainly is.”

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