Words that made Ash Barty ‘tear up’
ASHLEIGH Barty insists nothing will change for her - even if her next opponent in the women's singles draw at the Australian Open is her doubles partner, Julia Gorges.
Barty flew through to the fourth round with a clinical 6-3 6-2 win over Elena Rybakina on Friday afternoon, setting up a round-of-16 showdown with either Gorges or the woman who beat Barty at Wimbledon last year, Alison Riske.
Barty said her mindset and preparation won't change if she has to step out on to court to eliminate Gorges on Sunday, despite playing alongside her in the doubles on Saturday.
However, the world No.1 revealed the emotion she would carry into her next match when she said in her post-match press conference that Gorges had made her "tear up" last year when speaking about the Aussie's climb to the top ranking.
Barty became the first Australian to be world No.1 for 43 years after winning the WTA event in Birmingham last year, defeating Gorges in the final.
"I think there is a special moment today for Ash," Gorges said during the trophy presentation of that event.
"I'm very happy that I can share it with you and becoming No.1 in the world is a very special thing and you became a big friend of mine and I'm very happy that you achieved this goal."
Barty spoke glowingly of Gorges at the time, and has now revealed the German's comments made her tear up.
"Jules said some really nice things and kind of made me tear up a little bit," Barty said.
"She's a quality person, a quality human being. It doesn't matter what happens on the tennis court, for her, she's the same person. That's what I love about her."
Despite that, Barty insists she will treat Gorges no different to any other rival if they face off in the fourth round.
Riske and Gorges play their third-round match on Friday evening.
"Nothing changes," Barty said. "I mean, Tyz (coach Craig Tyzzer) sits down and watches a few of the matches, then we speak about it, put our brains together and see what we think, ways that we can work around the match, work around their strengths, bring it back to my strengths.
"So it's exactly the same whether I've played someone 10 times or whether I've played them once."
Barty said in her on-court interview after beating Rybakina that she would think about giving Gorges some "stick" if she won through.
"It's incredible, Jules is a great friend of mine, but obviously she's got an incredibly tough match," Barty said.
"I'll enjoy my arvo off, hopefully we play doubles tomorrow and we can enjoy that as well.
"It's really hard not to be friends with Jules, but maybe I'll have to give her a bit of stick."