24 February 2020

Ashleigh Barty 'feeling really good' ahead of Doha return in first match since Australian Open exit

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty insists she is 'really excited' to return to the court in Doha in her first tournament since the Australian Open.

The 2019 champion of Roland Garros was knocked out in the semi-finals of her home Grand Slam by eventual winner Sofia Kenin.

And the 23-year-old then withdrew from her first scheduled event after the defeat in Melbourne at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, but believes the extra time away did her good.

She said: "I needed to have an extra few days off just to let my body settle. We had a couple little niggles going on after the Australian Open.

"But it was nice to spend some time at home with my family. Parts of my family were with me at the Australian Open and my other sister wasn't, so it was nice to catch up with my niece and nephew at home who had been watching and enjoyed that month with me.

"And then to get into a bit of training again and then to come here and experience something new for the first time, it's rare that we kind of get that. We play the same tournaments and the same kind of calendar throughout the year, so it's nice to experience something new, something fresh and really exciting.

"So sometimes you have to make those kind of decisions to make sure that in the long-term you are looking after yourself. So it was nice to have those 10 days. I feel really good now. It's beautiful conditions here and I really like it."

Barty admits she was gutted after the Australian Open as it was a great opportunity to win a second Slam in less than 12 months, while also being in front of her home fans.

However, the Queensland-born player also believes there are positives to take from the defeat.

"Obviously it was disappointing not to have been there on the final Saturday, but a semifinal of a Slam doesn't happen every single week," she added.

"So I think all-in-all, though there was disappointment there was positivity. It was a fantastic month."

Barty, who received a bye through to the second round of the Qatar Open, will kick off with a match against Laura Siegemund on Tuesday.

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