Ashleigh Barty is not the type to be tuning into an event after she has bowed out, but the World No.1 was keeping a close eye on the final stages of the Australian Open as her friend and occasional doubles partner Jennifer Brady booked a spot in her maiden major final.

"I was absolutely rapt for her, genuinely pumped," Barty told reporters ahead of the Adelaide International, where she received a wildcard to defend her title. 

"She's such a brilliant person off the tennis court and then I think on the tennis court she's a superstar. I spoke to her throughout the tournament, obviously, but once she made the final I flicked her a message and then sent her a message as well after the match.

"But she's a fantastic professional, she really is. She definitely belongs at the latter end of the big tournaments and I'm so happy for her that she's being able to experience that and kind of know that she belongs there."

Barty returns to Adelaide as its inaugural and defending champion, having won the event last year with a win over Dayana Yastremska in the final. The World No.1 accepted a wildcard into this year's event after finding herself fit and firing after her quarterfinal exit in Melbourne. It's a good sign for Barty, who ended her 11 months on the sidelines by winning the Yarra Valley Classic in her first event and backed it up with a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals.

"I had spoken to Ali (tournament director Alistair MacDonald) throughout the last couple months knowing that obviously after the Australian Open we weren't sure what the calendar was going to look like and what we were going to do. A lot was going to depend on how my body felt. 

"So I'm extremely grateful to have an opportunity to play here and defend my title. Obviously it's somewhere where I've had such good memories."

"As for defending points, I think that's a very negative way to look at it. I go back to tournaments knowing that I've had successes there. I've had good memories. And we go back there and we start from scratch. 

"Every tournament you have to start from scratch and there are no certainties in sports, so I just go about it the best that I can on that given day and that's all I can do."

Photo by Tennis Australia

Adelaide will be Barty's last tournament on home soil before she heads off for what could be a protracted trip overseas that could have her living out of a suitcase for six months. It's a tricky proposition for a homebody like Barty, but the Queenslander says she's champing at the bit to resume a full-time tour schedule.

"I think what excites me the most is being able to do what I love on a regular basis and being able to do it week in, week out," Barty said. "Go through all of the emotions that come with being a professional athlete. With being a tennis player, obviously you have some incredible moments, you have some tough moments and I think that's all the work that you do in between, week in week out, is what I've kind of missed the most. 

"So I think hopefully we get to do that this year, we get to do it soon and kind of start again, which was a massive reason why we wanted to play here in Adelaide this week was to continue that momentum that we built through the last month here in Australia. 

"Playing in Australia's always something that I love to do, I'm never shy about saying that, so I think another opportunity to play in Australia, to play in front of fans here in Adelaide is going to be awesome."

Ashleigh Barty and Kiki Bertens share a laugh after finishing as doubles runner-ups at the 2020 Brisbane International.

Photo by Jimmie48/WTA

In an ideal world, a full schedule for Barty would include doubles. A standout doubles player throughout her career, Barty reached a career-high No.5 in 2018 and amassed 10 titles over her career, including the 2018 US Open, 2018 and 2019 Rome, 2018 Montreal, and 2018 Miami. 

"I think if I could play every single week, if my body would allow me to play every single week and every single match I would in a heartbeat. So I think it's going to be, it's always going to be an important part of my career, it always has been.

"But also at times, I want to prioritize my singles. I want to be allowing my body to rest and recover and prepare as best as I can to go well in singles events and it's a mix that I need to try and find the right formula for, but I feel like we have done a pretty good job of it over the last few years of finding that mix.

"So it will still be a part of my schedule without a doubt, but a lot will depend on making sure that I'm fit and healthy and able to do singles and to prepare for singles in a way where I feel comfortable."

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