World No.1 Ashleigh Barty reflects on her North American hardcourt swing and looks ahead to her long finish to the season, which includes the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen and Fed Cup final.
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen
September 23, 2019

WUHAN, China - World No.1 Ashleigh Barty has a strong chance to finish the 2019 season as the first Australian year-end WTA No.1, but resists the idea that it's a goal to be chased. 

Speaking ahead of the Dongfent Motor Wuhan Open, the Roland Garros champion told reporters she has no plans to change her schedule to maximize her points possibilities through the end of the season. 

"I think it's a target without being a target," Barty said. "We've put ourselves in a position where it's a possibility. 

"I plan my schedule, the last six months of this year, well in advance. I think I'm not going to change it to try and chase it. I'm going to try to do the best that I can in these next couple of events.

"If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. It's not going to change the way I rest or I recover or train and prepare for next year." 

READ: Barty, Pliskova battle for No.1 in Wuhan

Barty became the first player to qualify for the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen after the US Open. The 23-year-old is also set to play past the end of the WTA season, having led Australia to the Fed Cup final against France, which will be played in Perth on November 9th and 10th.

"I think it's been pretty quiet since US Open, if I'm being honest," Barty said. "I had a very quiet week at home. I was only home for seven days, I think. It was nice to be able to relax with family, practice a little bit.

"Yeah, pretty quiet and pretty relaxed, just making sure my body is all right, that physically I'm able to get through this next five or six weeks of the season knowing we have those four events left over. Looking forward to being ready and doing the best I can each one."

A Wuhan finalist in 2017 and semifinalist last year, Barty will open her tournament in a preview of the upcoming Fed Cup final, as she faces France's No.1 Caroline Garcia on Tuesday. 

After a red-hot first six months of the season, which saw her win Roland Garros, Miami, and Birmingham, Barty is looking to find the hardcourt that boosted her through the first three months of the season.  

"I think obviously Toronto was a little bit disappointing," Barty said, reflecting on her North American summer where she lost in the opening round of Toronto, made the semifinals of Cincinnati, and the Round of 16 at the US Open. "But I think we understood that we were maybe going there a little bit under-done, kind of run the gauntlet a little bit of trying to battle through the first couple rounds, get yourself into the tournament. We weren't able to do that.

"Cincinnati, I think we got better and better each match. There was still room for improvement. I think come US Open I was finding it more and more.

"Not every match was perfect, but that doesn't really matter for me. I was able to win matches and make another fourth round, make another second week of a Slam.

"All with all, we take positives out of the swing, take positives out of this year, build and continue to work towards this last little period."