Hun­gry Barty fired up for tilt at Fed Cup ti­tle

Mercury (Hobart) - - TENNIS, GOLF - MELISSA WOODS

WORLD No.1 Ash­leigh Barty says she is still hun­gry for Fed Cup suc­cess as she looks to lead Aus­tralia to its first ti­tle in 45 years when it takes on France in Perth this week­end.

Barty ar­rived in Perth yes­ter­day from Shen­zhen, China, where she won the sea­so­nend­ing WTA Fi­nals tour­na­ment and pock­eted more than $6 mil­lion in prize­money. But the 23-year-old said that had not sated her de­sire to win the Fed Cup.

“This was a week I cir­cled at the be­gin­ning of the year that I wanted to tar­get, and to be able to fin­ish the year play­ing as a team for your na­tion is pretty spe­cial and I’ve been look­ing for­ward to it for a long time,” Barty said.

“All of us are ex­tremely hun­gry — it’s taken us prob­a­bly two or three years to get into this po­si­tion and now it’s about com­ing out and en­joy­ing it this week­end.”

De­spite the tough slog in China Barty said she felt in good shape. “I’m as fresh as you can ex­pect to be in the last week of the sea­son — there’s cer­tainly no is­sues.”

Barty fronted the me­dia along­side vet­eran Sa­man­tha Sto­sur, who made the semi­fi­nals in the dou­bles in Shen­zhen. Sto­sur said she hadn’t been told whether she or debu­tante Ajla Toml­janovic, who was only cleared to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia three weeks ago, would get the nod for the other sin­gles rub­ber.

“All of us want to put our hand up for any match and we’re all out pre­par­ing as if we will be play­ing, but no­body has been given the nod just yet,” the 35-year-old said. “I’ve played Fed Cup for 16 years so to now be in the fi­nal, it’s been a long time com­ing and we want to make the most of it.”

The pair pre­dicted French No.1 Kristina Mlade­n­ovic, who won the WTA Fi­nals dou­bles ti­tle and elim­i­nated Sto­sur en route, to have a big im­pact.

Mlade­n­ovic is ranked world No.40 in sin­gles and No.2 in dou­bles.

“We know what to ex­pect so it’s about keep­ing it sim­ple,” Barty said.

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