Ashleigh Barty insists there is ‘no extra pressure’ over world No 1 ranking battle with Naomi Osaka

Ashleigh Barty in action

Ashleigh Barty will continue “to go about her business” as she feels “no extra pressure” over the battle for top spot in the WTA Rankings with Naomi Osaka.

The Australian remains the top-ranked player in the women’s game, but newly crowned Australian Open champion Osaka is definitely the form player with pundits saying she is also the best player on the Tour at the moment.

Osaka also won the US Open in September 2020 and her Melbourne Park success saw her move up to No 2 with Barty staying top largely thanks to the two-year rankings system adopted to counter last year’s enforced coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

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Barty, though, played down talks of feeling the heat from Osaka.

“There’s no extra pressure. The extra pressure is non-existent for me. It’s just trying to go about my business and my training, my processes the right way for what works for me and my team.

“And that’s all that matters to us really is that we go about it the right way and make the right decisions for the right reasons and then we sleep well at night regardless of what happens next to our name.

“I can’t control what anyone else does. For the tournaments or with the rankings, that’s out of my control.

“As for defending points, I think that’s a very negative way to look at it. Obviously I go back to tournaments knowing that I’ve had successes there. I’ve had good memories.”

Many believe Barty and Osaka will form a great on-court rivalry on the Tour over the next few years.

The pair have only met twice in competitive games to date with the head-to-head split 2-2.

“I’ve only played her a couple times. We haven’t played a lot,” Barty said.

“Obviously it’s depending on how the draw falls in a lot of tournaments. So hopefully it’s an opportunity for me to play against her in some big moments in big tournaments.

“That’s what we dream of is trying to put yourself in a position to win big titles. So maybe it will happen one day but for the time being that’s not what I’m stressed about.”

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