Ashleigh Barty, now the equal highest n player at her home grand slam, hopes to ride a wave of momentum deep into the second week at Melbourne Park.
The world No.17, who little more than 12 months ago was ranked in the 300s after a sea change of sorts playing professional cricket, has started the new season in similar fashion to her stand-out 2017, losing the Sydney International final to Angelique Kerber on Saturday night.
Barty, however, insists she’s not feeling any additional pressure to deliver success for n tennis which has not had a local winner – male or female – since Chris O’Neill held aloft the women’s trophy in 1978.
Alongside Daria Gavrilova, also seeded at Melbourne Park, Barty is considered something of an outside chance in a wide open women’s field.
Bu the 21-year-old was not letting the hype get to her.
“It’s just nice to be here again. I love playing in . I love playing at home. It was nice to do well last week and get a few matches under my belt,” Barty said.
“You know, this is the best time of the year for all Aussies. I’m just really excited to sort of get underway.”
Gavrilova, a proven performer in with two fourth round berths in the past two years, also wasn’t letting the build-up affect her.
“I just look at it as they want the best for me, and I want it as much. I feel like, you know, yeah, I can put pressure on myself by that, but I feel like I’m just going to go out there and compete really hard, hopefully not disappoint anyone,” Gavrilova said.
The 23-year-old also wasn’t putting a ceiling on what she might achieve.
“Win the whole thing. Come on, no one says it, but everyone wants to win the whole thing,” she said.
Barty and Gavrilova are two of eight ns in the women’s draw, including Sam Stosur and wildcards Destanee Aiava, Ajla Tomljanovic, Lizette Cabrera, Jaimee Fourlis and Olivia Rogowska.
Barty plays Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus on Tuesday.