SYDNEY, Australia - Ashleigh Barty is looking forward to the challenge of meeting the likes of Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka at the Sydney International.
The tournament, which will run January 6-12, 2019, has confirmed the presence of a plethora of top stars, including the WTA World No.1, the defending champion, and the US Open champion.
Barty, who reached the final in 2018, believes it is, therefore, a perfect way to build up towards the Australian Open.
“Sydney’s so exciting, it’s always such a strong field, especially on the women’s side,” the WTA World No.15 told Nine's Wide World of Sports.
“There are eight of the top 10 players in the world coming. It’s going to be amazing for the fans, and what a challenge for us Aussies to test ourselves against the best straight off the bat coming into the start of the season.
“We’re all back into preseason. For me, it’s been an amazing year and I’m really excited to start come next year.”
Losing 6-4, 6-4 to Angelique Kerber in the final last year did little to sour her experience of the competition and she is hungry to get back.
“It was so exciting to make my first final at home,” she added. “It was the first time I’d played in Sydney and it was amazing. The crowds were unreal, to get that support straight away heading into the Australian summer is the most exciting thing that we can get.”
Tournament director Lawrence Robertson is thrilled with the standard the draw has attracted, both on the WTA and ATP sides of the event.
“It’s hard to believe that we could surpass the quality of the field the Sydney International attracted in 2018,” he said.
“With eight Grand Slam champions and eight of the world’s top 10 in the women’s draw, and the best up-and-coming talent on the ATP Tour confirmed to play, Sydney International 2019 is certainly going to be one of the most exciting in the event’s 124-year history.
“I’m delighted that so many of the world’s most talented players have chosen to come to Sydney in January, and I’m sure the fans share my excitement about witnessing our star-studded men’s and women’s fields first hand.”