Barty back in New York for US Open tilt

·3-min read

Taking nothing for granted, Ash Barty is hoping the stars align once more as she strives for more grand slam glory on another special anniversary for Australian tennis.

Barty is chasing a first US Open crown 10 years on from Fed Cup teammate Samantha Stosur's magical breakthrough in New York, and 20 years after Lleyton Hewitt snared the men's title at Flushing Meadows.

Both beat legends in the final, with Stosur destroying Serena Williams on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hewitt dismantling Pete Sampras also in straight sets.

The timing of her compatriots' memorable feats aren't lost on Barty, who lived out a childhood dream herself last month by winning Wimbledon on the 50th anniversary of John Newcombe's and her idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley's golden Australian title double at the All England Club.

"There is no doubt that the stars aligned and there was some incredible history that came with this year at Wimbledon and I think to have the 10-year anniversary for Sammy here is incredible," Barty said on Saturday.

"It doesn't guarantee anything but it does make those weeks and those memories created around those weeks a little bit more special."

Barty is halfway towards a career grand slam after adding the Wimbledon trophy to her 2019 French Open success and could conceivably head to the Australian Open trying to complete the set.

But, despite her Open favouritism following a tour-best five-title season, the runaway world No.1 is refusing to entertain such a prospect, publicly at least.

"I was asked this last week and hadn't given it any thought at all," Barty said of her attempt to join all-time greats Williams, Margaret Court, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Billie-Jean King, Maureen Connolly, Doris Hart and Maria Sharapova as the only women to win all four majors.

"Genuinely it's not something that I focus on. I'm just trying to do the best that I can each and every match, each and every tournament."

Barty's spectacular year also includes an Olympic bronze medal after snaring third prize with John Peers in Tokyo - not bad for a self-confessed homebody who sat out most of last season, including the US Open, while uncomfortable travelling during the height of the global pandemic.

"It has been a long year," the 25-year-old said.

"It was always going to be a challenge this year of having that adventure kind of feeling, not really knowing when we would be going home or what we were going to do.

"But thankfully we've got the technology to still be able to connect to everyone at home.

"I'm able to connect to my family every single day and I've had a few Aussie care packages sent over, which is nice as well just to keep things normal and get some sense of home with me on the road.

"My team's been with me as well. They've been through it. We've just enjoyed every day.

"Even some of the tougher moments we've found a way to laugh and lighten up a little bit."

Winning a WTA-high 40 matches has also helped alleviate the homesickness.

"It certainly does," Barty said.

"And also playing lots of matches, you get that busy feeling. Not too many weeks have we been twiddling our thumbs and trying to fill in time, which has been great.

"We've scheduled really well. We've tried to prioritise big tournaments and we've tried to prioritise my physical and emotional feelings in a way where we want to play our best in certain events.

"And being here in New York is no different. We want to do well here."

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