Ash Barty has been switching off ahead of Saturday’s Australian Open final by watching cricket and trying to forget the huge weight of expectation upon her.
On Saturday morning she will become the first female home player to feature in the championship match since Wendy Turnbull in 1980, when she meets American Danielle Collins.
As top seed and heavy favourite to break the drought of homegrown champions, the 25-year-old has been trying to keep her mind away from the task in hand by consciously adopting a laid-back attitude.
Ash Barty is the first female home player to feature in Australian Open final since 1980
Her opponent Danielle Collins has little to lose and a history of playing well in Australia
‚It’s pretty easy for me. When I’m not here, I don’t really think about the tennis too much.
‚I’ve got the women’s Ashes to watch, which is brilliant, read a book, a few coffees, and we’re set,‘ said the multi-talented Barty, who had a season playing for Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash while taking a break from tennis.
The reigning Wimbleton champion has been outstanding all fortnight, having not dropped a set and lost just 21 games in all.
Barty has been switching off ahead of Saturday’s Australian Open final by watching cricket
This century, only Serena and Venus Williams have gone into a Grand Slam final having conceded fewer games in a tournament.
Collins, the 28-year-old No 27 seed who came through the American college system, has little to lose and a history of playing well in Australia.
Like other opponents of Barty, she will have to deal with the devilish backhand slice of the home favourite, which has proved lethal in this tournament.