Ash shrugs off Wimbledon praise
As the pressure mounts on Ashleigh Barty to emerge as the victor at Wimbledon, she Aussie champ reveals what is out of her control.
Less than week into her reign as world No 1, the French Open champion says bottomless depth in the women's game means virtually any player in the 128-field can win.
"I don't know if I'm the favourite for Wimbledon," she said ahead of a first-round clash with China's Zheng Saisai.
"I think I need to try and get through this first round first and foremost.
"To be honest, I never look at the draws.
"I look at my first-round opponents because that's the only thing I can worry about, that's the only thing I can control and ultimately what happens in the rest of the draw is up to everyone else.
"It's not up to me.
"I think over the last year in the WTA it's shown that anyone can beat anyone on any given day so you need to make sure you're prepared and you respect your opponent and try and go about it the right way."
Barty, 23, is attempting to join Rod Laver (1969), Margaret Court (1970) and Evonne Goolagong (1971) as the only Australians win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year since tennis opened its doors to professionals in 1968.
As winner of more matches - 36 wins from 41 attempts - Barty is the locker room elect, even if she is attempting to deflect attention.
And she expects a stern challenge from Zheng.
"Saisai has incredible abilities to match up on a grass court," Barty said.
"I think she was done well here in the past.
"She has got a good slice backhand, the kick serve that will react well off the courts.
"She loves playing on the grass courts. I think it's a tough first-round match, one that I know I'll have to be ready for.
"I think that's kind of the perfect start for me, trying to make sure I'm really switched on for that first-round match, trying to do the best that I can."
Barty heads Australia's six-woman contingent.
Daria Gavrilova, Ajla Tomljanovic and Astra Sharma play on Monday.
Barty, Samantha Stosur and Arina Rodionova play on Tuesday.