DUBAI 6 February 2019: Australian No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is expected to be a strong contender for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships trophy when play gets underway on 17th February.
The 22 year-old stands a modest 1.66 meters (5 ‘5 “) but is proof that you do not have to be a giant to succeed in the game as she has long standing tall in both singles and doubles. She climbed to a new career high of 14 after the Australian Open, following victory over then world No. 2. 1 Simona Halep on the way to her second successful Sydney final, which was followed by a win over Maria Sharapova in Melbourne that earned her a place in the quarter-finals of her home Grand Slam. On both occasions it took the spectacular talents of Petra Kvitova to end her run.
She has also enjoyed outstanding success in doubles, rising to No. 5 in the world, contesting all four Grand Slam finals and winning the US Open in 2018. But she is not only the top-ranked Australian woman in both singles and doubles. At the end of last season she received the prestigious Newcombe Medal, the highest honor in Australian tennis, for the second consecutive year, and she is the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia with a goal to promote more indigenous participation in the sport.
Her current success comes after she took an extended break from the game after the 2014 US Open as she felt she wanted to experience life as an ordinary teenager. She then returned in early 2016, starting with doubles events on the ITF circuit before eventually embarking on a full comeback.
“I’m driven to win every single match,” said Barty. “I mean, obviously once you get a taste of it you’re always hungry for more. I’ve always been extremely driven and passionate, especially coming back this second time around, about how I’ve wanted to go about things. I think more importantly I’ve begun to understand better off the court how I can enjoy it more and enjoy the process, trust the process, get the results that we’re after. I finished the season of 2018 with a title (she won Zhuhai to end her year as well as Nottingham earlier in the season). I’ve had my best start to 2019. Certainly no complaints from here. ”
“Ashleigh Barty is an exceptional athlete who excelled at cricket during her time away from tennis,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “We are delighted that she made the decision to resume her tennis career and that she is making such a positive impact on the game. It will be very interesting to see how well she does against such opposition opposition here. ”
Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added, “This is the first time that Ashleigh Barty is competing here at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. She has proved to be an excellent competitor though for a number of years and she is clearly going from strength to strength. Her recent success in Australia has demonstrated that she is capable of beating even the very best and no opponent will be taking her lightly. ”
Barty faces formidable opposition which includes an incredible nine of the world’s top 10, led by reigning US and Australian Open champion and world No 1. Naomi Osaka. Among others competing are two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 2018 Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki, French Open champion Simona Halep, treble Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber, two-time Dubai champion Elina Svitolina, 2019 Brisbane winner and Australian Open semi-finalist Karolina Pliskova and former Grand Slam champions Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko.
The sensational week of women’s tennis will be followed by an equally thrilling men’s event headed by seven-time champion Roger Federer, Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, defending champion and recent Doha winner Roberto Bautista Agut, former US Open winner Marin Cilic and two -time finalist Tomas Berdych.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is owned and organized by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, begins with the WTA event which takes place between 17th and 23rd February, and is followed by the ATP event between 25th February and 2nd March.