Tennis star Barty on improvement quest

Steve Larkin
Despite being the women's world No.1, Ashleigh Barty says she doesn't yet feel a complete player

Ashleigh Barty doesn't feel complete.

She has the world No.1 women's tennis ranking, universal love and respect.

And career prize money of almost $24 million - $23 million coming last year alone.

But fulfilment? Nope, not yet - Barty doesn't even consider herself the complete package as a player.

"I want to be the complete tennis player," she told reporters in Adelaide on Monday.

"... The challenge is now to continue to try and improve as a tennis player and that's all I can really ask of myself.

"It's going to be small improvements but improvements nonetheless every single day."

Barty will play her first match at the Adelaide International on Tuesday, carrying top seeding in the inaugural tournament.

She'll also carry top billing - and expectation and adulation of her sports-besotted nation - into next week's Australian Open in Melbourne.

But Barty has promised, to herself and her fans, that carrying the world No.1 ranking won't change her.

"Regardless of what number is next to my name - and whether it's one, two, 10, 20, 50 - it's not going to make me any more or less hungry to try and be the best that I can be," she said.

"That is what we're striving for every single day, to try and improve every single day and try and bring the best out of myself.

"And I have an exceptional team of people around me that help me do that and that is all we worry about - there certainly won't be any stresses about whatever number is there.

"Having a number next to your name doesn't guarantee anything - it doesn't guarantee wins.

"You still have to go out there and do the work ... and do your best every single match.

"And that is how I'm going to approach this week here in Adelaide; that is how I'm going to approach the Australian Open.

"That is how I'm going to try and approach the rest of my career, regardless of what number is next to my name."

As for the pressure sure to come from an Australian public to deliver an Australian Open fairytale title?

"No more pressure - we're not there yet," she said.

"It's something I don't need to worry about this week. I'm here to play in Adelaide and try to do the best that I can.

"And once we get to Melbourne, we will prepare like we do for any other grand slam.

"There's no more pressure, certainly from my team or myself ... it's not really something that I worry about."