Serena says Barty has the right stuff
TENNIS great Serena Williams has anointed Ashleigh Barty with her prediction that the Aussie has what it takes to grab the top spot.
Barty, 23, who took the top place just last week, has been in stellar form.
Williams, who has been battling with injury ahead of Wimbledon, said she was happy for Barty's success.
"I think she has a great game, she's chilled, she's just so relaxed in a way," she said.
"She's had a solid year as well, it's not just the French Open, she won in Miami as well.
"She's had a really good year, I think anything is possible."
Williams, 37, who is currently ranked 11th in the world and has collected almost $90 million in career prize money, said that Barty's off court efforts had also impressed the tennis world.
"I don't know anyone who has anything negative to say about her, she is the sweetest, cutest girl on tour and she's just, she's so nice and has the most beautiful game, such classic shots," Williams said.
"She does everything right, her technique is flawless, obviously I'm happy for her."
Barty is seeded number 1 at Wimbledon and will play China's Saisai Zheng in the first round.
The Ipswich raised player said last night at Wimbledon that an arm injury that forced her out of a lead up tournament this week had improved.
"Yeah, it's been good, it's been a really good couple of days, it's nice to stay off the court for a couple of days," she said.
Asked about Williams' comments, she said that it was new feeling coming into a tournament as number one, but that she was trying to keep everything as "normal as possible."
"The only pressure is that I put on myself … regardless of whether I win or lose I can walk off with a smile knowing I have been doing my best," she said.
Barty said she was looking forward to Wimbledon.
"(This is) one of the most incredible weeks on the calendar," she said.
But she said that she was sticking to her preparation.
"It's about coming out this week and trying to do all the little things right," she said.
Her family have returned to Australia to "look after the puppies" but her normal team had stayed around her, including boyfriend Garry Kissick.
She said that there had not been an explosion in ticket requests from friends and relatives since her elevation to the top of the rankings.
"Two of my girlfriends are coming over and they will come out and enjoy but otherwise all the same," she said.
Barty said her visit to Lord's to watch Australia play England in the World Cup cricket last week was a "a bucket list item, standing on the balcony at Lord's."
She said she was trying to keep everything normal coming into Wimbledon.
"I have had a really nice reception from the players, it's nice to earn that respect," she added.