Roland Garros

Friday, 28 May 2021

Paris, France

Ashleigh Barty

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First question would be, does it feel like you're defending a title, given that it's a couple years since you won?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, honestly it feels like a lifetime ago. I think coming back to the site here at Roland Garros is obviously pretty special, pretty cool to be able to walk onto Chatrier and have so many memories kind of come flooding back. A lot of it I also don't remember and feels like it was such a long time ago.

It's certainly a clean slate for us this week but exciting to be here, exciting to be back and getting ready to play.

Q. I just wanted to know how you are doing physically since Rome, how your shoulder was feeling, have you been able to practice normally?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, I'm feeling good. I'm feeling ready to play. I think it was an important decision for us to make to make sure that we arrived at this tournament being 100% physically.

And, yeah, I feel great. I feel like we have been able to practice well, control what we have needed to do over the last kind of ten days or so.

Now we're looking forward to starting in a few days' time, whenever that may be. I think I'll be excited to play and get out there for that first round.

Q. I'm sure it's been very challenging on the tour during the pandemic. Could you just chat to us about what it's been like for you in the different conditions, the challenges that that causes, but also have there been any positives for you too?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, plenty of positives. Everything has been positive. I'm extremely grateful that's I've got an opportunity to be back doing what I love. We're in an environment where the tours and the tournaments have done a fantastic job to be able to keep us safe and keeping the tournaments running.

That's probably been the biggest thing is that everywhere we have gone I felt extremely safe and I felt like abiding by the rules and guidelines we have been given to follow for me has been quite easy, it's been quite seamless and certainly been nice to be back playing.

Absolutely no complaints from my end. It's been awesome being back out here playing some tournaments back to back to back. It's been a really good start to what will hopefully be and continue to be a long and happy and healthy season.

Q. You have talked about during the COVID-19 pandemic you want to revisit the 2019 French Open by some way. Did you get a chance to relive that beautiful moment? Was that really helpful for you to head into this year's Roland Garros?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, we have fantastic memories without a doubt. I think each court that we have either practiced on or played on has unique memories and they kind of come flooding back.

As I said, it feels like it was a very long time ago. For us this week it's a clean slate, a fresh start. It's hard to take too much from that tournament back in 2019, but we are very excited to be back and have another opportunity to play here at Roland Garros. It's a special place. It holds a very special place in my heart and we are very excited to start again.

Q. What do you think about the WTA ranking, like Naomi Osaka has the opportunity to be again World No. 1 if she wins the title? Do you think about this? Is this your main goal to stay on the top position, or it's important just to make good results?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: No, it's not at the top of my goal list by any means. It's not something I focus on the rankings. A lot of the time it's out of my control. All I can do is try and play the best I can in each and every tournament. Whether that's a good or a bad result, it doesn't faze me too much. It doesn't bother me. Yeah, it's certainly not something I focus on, no.

Q. I'm looking into antidoping testing during the pandemic, which is obviously a problem because of traveling. There is a lot less testings. So this question is not especially to you. Would be lovely if you could answer it. During your time in Australia and also on the road, especially in 2021, the testing is a bit uprise now. But for you, but can you tell me how often you got doping test from Australian antidoping federation and from the ITF in front of Roland Garros this year, 2021? Do you have a number for me or can you say something about it, it's a problem in general?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I'm not going to give you the exact number, no, but the testing for me hasn't changed a lot. Obviously it's different for everyone how regularly they get tested. I mean, it's random, to my understanding. I'm not sure.

I'm happy to do my testing whenever I'm asked, and that hasn't changed a lot for me. Yeah, I'm not really sure what else you want me to say to that.

Q. What do you make of Naomi Osaka's decision not to do any press conferences? Have you ever found doing a press conference difficult from a mental health point of view?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Oh, I think in my opinion press is kind of part of the job. We know what we sign up for as professional tennis players. I can't really comment on what Naomi is feeling or her decisions she makes.

At times press conference are hard of course but it's also not something that bothers me. I've never had problems answering questions or being completely honest with you guys. It's not something that's ever fazed me too much. And, you know, certainly doesn't for me personally, doesn't keep me up at night what I say and hear or what you guys ask me. So I try and make it a little bit lighter and have a bit of fun with you guys.

For me it's a little bit different but I can't comment on her personally for what she's going through, so I suppose you'll have to ask her that next time you chat to her.

Q. It feels as though it was week after week that you were in action obviously since you've been overseas and so this kind of break from Rome to now is probably one of the longer breaks you have had. What was the priority for you? Obviously there was the injury and everything but also just rest, you know, mental break, all these sorts of things to get ready for this. What was the last ten days or so kind of like to prep for this event?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: It was quiet, peaceful, I think. We were down in the South of France, which was beautiful, weather was great. We were at a very small club down there which for me was perfect. I felt like we were able to do exactly what we wanted on court, we were able to control loads and make sure my body was feeling 100%.

To be able to just control that week was really important, making sure that we had arrived here feeling great and we have. I feel like I'm ready to play. I'm excited to be back. But I think having that break kind of down south was beautiful in a sense where it was quiet.

The days, we felt like we had a lot of time in the days. We could go and practice for a couple hours. We were staying a two-minute walk from where the courts were. It felt like we had a lot of time just to rest and recover and kind of do what we wanted to do off the court, as well, within the restrictions that kind of were still in France last week. They changed a little bit with the curfews and things like that. It was a just a really refreshing week, which is important.

Q. I was just wondering, you haven't played that often against Naomi Osaka I think but you practiced with her. How much does that help you, if at all?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: I mean, I have played Naomi a couple of times now, three or four times I think. Yeah, we've practiced together. I don't think it's such a big deal. We were just hitting and going through our preparations like we usually would. I know from what I have seen you guys enjoyed that.

Yeah, certainly no story behind it or nothing to write home about. I think I just enjoy practicing with a bunch of different girls, and it so happened that Naomi and I practiced together a couple days ago.

Q. Just two weeks' gap between French Open and Wimbledon, and then the Olympics Tokyo is coming up and it must be really long road for you. Can you talk about the schedule and how do you make this kind of adjustment from the clay, grass, and hard court?

ASHLEIGH BARTY: Yeah, it's a quick change between surfaces, but it's also something that's not super foreign. I mean, every year it seems like the change between surfaces is quite quick. This year with one less week is, you know, is like it used to be, I think. It wasn't a massive gap for a long period of time.

So it's not something that I focus on now. We just take it week by week and each day at a time. I think our focus this week is purely on playing here at Roland Garros, and then we will kind of work out our schedule and our plans and focus on making sure we do all the right things to make sure your body is okay and get through the next period. It will be grueling but it's an exciting period coming up.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
107937-1-1063 2021-05-28 10:19:00 GMT

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