Ashleigh Barty says she is only bothered about developing a long-lasting rivalry with Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka if it means they are playing in “big moments in big tournaments”.
The world number one did not watch the four-time Grand Slam champion’s straight sets win over Jennifer Brady in Saturday’s final, as she is not a “massive tennis watcher”.
Barty’s challenge ended in a quarter-final defeat to Czech Karolina Muchova, while Osaka later powered past Serena Williams and then Brady to record her second Melbourne title.
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The Australian has Osaka breathing down her neck for the world number one ranking, with the pair separated largely due to the WTA’s two-year system to calculate the standings.
Despite that, Barty says it is not something that is at the forefront of her mind: “There's no extra pressure. The extra pressure is non-existent for me. It's just trying to go about my business and my training, my processes the right way for what works for me and my team.
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“And that's all that matters to us really is that we go about it the right way and make the right decisions for the right reasons and then we sleep well at night regardless of what happens next to our name.
“I can't control what anyone else does. For the tournaments or with the rankings, that's out of my control.
“As for defending points, I think that's a very negative way to look at it. Obviously I go back to tournaments knowing that I've had successes there. I've had good memories.”
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Both players are a year and a half apart in age, making it possible that they could face at least a decade of sporting rivalry, but Barty, who is preparing to defend her Adelaide International title, says it is a long way off becoming a reality.
“I've only played her a couple times. We haven't played a lot”, she said.
“Obviously it's depending on how the draw falls in a lot of tournaments. So hopefully it's an opportunity for me to play against her in some big moments in big tournaments.
“That's what we dream of is trying to put yourself in a position to win big titles. So maybe it will happen one day but for the time being that's not what I'm stressed about.”