Australian Open: Barty focused on enjoying herself to ignore pressure of drought

By Sports Desk January 29, 2022

Ash Barty said she focused on enjoying herself to avoid getting hampered by the pressure and expectation of delivering an Australian Open title.

The 25-year-old ended Australia's 44-year wait for a singles champion in Melbourne by beating Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Saturday.

World number one Barty claimed her third grand slam title, landing the trophy without dropping a set.

All the talk at the tournament focused on Barty ending Australia's drought, but the reigning Wimbledon champion said her ability to just enjoy herself was key.

"I think the expectation was that I would always come out and give my best, and that's all I've ever done," she told a news conference.

"I have been close before, but I think now that we've been able to achieve this, I think you guys don't need to talk about it anymore.

"You were the ones who added fuel to the fire, because for us it was just the same processes and the same enjoyment, regardless of where we're playing in the world, what round it is. That has no impact on how much I enjoy my tennis and go out there or how much I try and compete.

"I think it's being able to really simplify that and then just come out and enjoy it. I mean, this fortnight, seven times I got to walk out onto a beautiful court with incredible fans and try and do the best I can do, and that's all I could ask of myself.

"Now to be able to have this part of my dream kind of achieved is amazing, and I think I have to really understand that that came from the processes that we put in with my team and the people that are around me, because without them, I wouldn't be half the person that I am."

Barty came from 5-1 down in the second set to overcome Collins, sealing her victory with a forehand cross-court passing winner.

After a successful fortnight, Barty screamed in delight to celebrate her win.

"It was a little bit surreal. I think I didn't quite know what to do or what to feel, and I think just being able to let out a little bit of emotion, which is a little bit unusual for me, and I think being able to celebrate with everyone who was there in the crowd, the energy was incredible tonight," she said.

"I think being able to understand how much work my team and I have done behind the scenes and over the last few years, to get to this point to be able to have this opportunity was really special.

"I think it just kind of all came out at once, and yeah, it was a really, really special moment."

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