Ash Barty has declared a Fed Cup Final triumph in Perth this weekend would rate right up there with any of her other achievements in a remarkable 2019.
Barty addressed a huge media pack at RAC Arena today, echoing the sentiments of her former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua after last night flying in from her WTA Finals victory in China.
The world No.1 already boasts an incredible list of highlights from her season but can yet end Australia’s 45-year Fed Cup drought if she can lead her nation to a win over France.
Barty has book-ended her year in Perth after teaming with Matt Ebden for Australia in the Hopman Cup this year.
“This is a week that I circled right from the beginning of the year, one that we wanted to target as a team and as a nation,” Barty said. “It’s really exciting to be able to finish the year playing for your country. It’s pretty special and without a doubt it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
“I think all of us are extremely hungry. It’s taken us probably two or three years to try and get ourselves into this position and now it’s about coming out and enjoying it this weekend.
“It was a perfect way for me to start off my 2019 season playing Hopman Cup here in Perth and I think to be able to kind of come full circle and end the season playing for your country is going to be really special too.
“It would be right up there without a doubt.”
Barty said she had arrived in good shape, despite her heavy workload this season.
“There’s certainly no issues,” she said. “I’m fresh as I can expect to be in the last week of the season.”
Barty and veteran teammate Sam Stosur said they had great confidence in the team, with question marks remaining on who will join Barty in singles action.
Doubles and singles star Kristina Mladenovic will lead the French team.
Arriving in Perth, last stretch of an amazing @WTA season! @FedCup 🇫🇷 vs 🇦🇺 ! Can’t wait! Look who I ran into! Some big time winners 🏆🏆@WTAFinals @KikiMladenovic @ashbarty What a joy that was to call both finals! @WTA_insider @womens10stalk1 @BillieJeanKing @FFTennis pic.twitter.com/oe5C2cdLZR
— Sophie Amiach (@SophieAmiach) November 4, 2019
“We’ve got options aplenty with our team,” Barty said.
“No matter who gets the rubbers on the board, it’s about collectively trying to come in as a team and get the win.
“We’ve playing Kristina enough on the singles and the doubles court and I think her name is going to feature prominently on the weekend for the French team. Obviously she has had a fantastic week in Shenzhen winning the doubles title there.
“I think we kind of know what to expect so it’s about, for us, keeping it simple, creating a game plan and trying to execute.”
Stosur said she would put her hand up for any opportunities captain Alicia Molik gave her over the weekend.
The 35-year-old said it would be incredible to win Fed Cup.
“I’ve played Fed Cup for I think 16 years now,” Stosur said. “I’ve loved every single time I get to go out there and represent my country so to now be in a final, it’s been a long time coming. So we want to try and make the most of it absolutely but it will be right up there with one of the things that you will always remember in your career.”