Hard work Barty’s only focus ahead of Australian Open

ADELAIDE (AFP) – Ashleigh Barty said yesterday that being world number one meant nothing heading into the opening Grand Slam of the year, with hard work her only focus.

The French Open champion arrived in Adelaide for her final Australian Open warm-up after losing the Brisbane International doubles final on the weekend and going out in the singles at the first hurdle.

The laid-back Australian said she will not be stressing about holding onto the number one ranking, insisting it does not matter where she stands.

“Having a number next to your name doesn’t guarantee anything. You have to go and do the work and try to do best in every match,” she said.

“That’s how I want to approach rest of my career. I won’t change anything no matter what my ranking. I won’t be more or less hungry to be the best that I can be. I pride myself on my fighting qualities.”

She is keeping any thoughts of the Australian Open in check, insisting the Adelaide International was the only thing on her mind.

“I can’t wait to start. Every match I play here will be a bonus, I’ve done my preparation well. I’ve put myself in a position to try and play my best tennis,” the 23-year-old said.

“At the moment, this event is all that’s on my mind.” Barty, who will begin in the second round at Memorial Drive after a bye, takes on Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-4.