World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty wants to take things slowly at the start of the season since it has been four months since her last competitive match.
Barty, 25, suffered a shock third round loss at the US Open and then decided to return to Australia.
“I’m excited now to try and bring it all together as best as I can and understand in the next couple of weeks I’ll have to be patient with myself,” Barty said, per Eurosport.
“It has been a while since I’ve played a competitive match, but I feel good, I feel ready.”
Barty set to play Adelaide
Barty will kick off her 2022 season this week in Adelaide.
Barty finished the year ranked at No. 1 for a third consecutive season but she is aware that are fresh challengers who will be aiming to dethrone her.
“There are fresh challengers every year, regardless of who is what spot on the ranking list,” said Barty, who received a first-round bye in Adelaide.
“Girls really stepped up, were able to play really consistent seasons, which is exciting to see for the women’s game.
“It feels like it’s just good competition. Genuinely there is really good depth and you have to bring your best time and time again to be able to compete with everyone and give yourself a chance to win the big titles.”
Barty has never gotten into any type of problems and former American tennis player Jill Craybas believes Barty is a great representation for the women’s game.
“Ashleigh Barty is just an all-natural athlete and an amazing person. I think she’s definitely a great representation for the women’s game,” Craybas said during her appearance on the Tennis Talk podcast.
“The way she carries herself on the court, her demeanor, the way she speaks. I think she’s just awesome to have at the No. 1 spot.”