Ashleigh Barty news: ‘This doesn’t feel like work. This is fun,’ says world No 1 about Australian Open title run

Ashleigh Barty celebrates with the Australian Open trophy

It was the “most unbelievable fortnight” for Ashleigh Barty at Melbourne Park after she captured her maiden Australian Open title, but for most part it didn’t feel like she was “working”.

The world No 1 confirmed her status as the best player in women’s tennis over the past few years as she defeated Danielle Collins in the final on Saturday.

Her maiden Australian Open crown meant she is only the second active player after Serena Williams to win a Grand Slam on all three surfaces while she also became the first Australian woman since Christine O’Neill in 1978 to win a major on home soil.

Barty didn’t drop a single set over the two weeks and was the darling of Melbourne Park so naturally she enjoyed her time at “work”.

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“I’ve just been so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to do something that not many people get to do. And I think being able to really enjoy it has been the most satisfactory thing, actually being able to enjoy the experience,” she told WTA Insider.

“This doesn’t feel like work. This is fun. This is incredibly fun to be able to share it with the crowd, to engage the crowd. It’s just been the most unbelievable fortnight in a sense of enjoying every single moment, taking it for what it is, and really playing my best tennis when it mattered most.”

Playing at your home Grand Slam always has extra pressure, never mind the fact that Barty was the world No 1 and the pre-tournament favourite.

Yet the 25-year-old maintained that she always set out to have fun, something which she achieved.

“We made a massive focus to keep this tournament really light, to keep this experience of playing at the Australian Open, playing at our home Grand Slam as something that is really fun,” she said.

“Ultimately, I never feel like I have anything to prove to anyone. I think being able to embrace the outside noise and embrace the pressure, as they call it, for me that isn’t pressure. It’s just fun. I think being able to really play my own way, put my own spin on it and still be myself in what can be a really daunting environment was incredibly fun this week.

“My team just does an amazing job of keeping things light. We’re childlike with the games that we come up with, the warm-ups, the banter, the garbage that we talk, there’s just so much fun. My days are boring when I’m not at the tennis and not enjoying that with my team. It just wouldn’t be the same without them.”

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