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"There is more attention on me than there used to be." How 2019 changed Ash Barty.

December and January are the cruisiest months of the year for many of us.

The sun is shining, there’s far too much food to eat and every second day is a public holiday.

But as we’re reading our books at the beach or pouring another cider, one of Australia’s great sportspeople is putting in the hard yards ahead of another busy tennis season.

Ash Barty is an Australian sporting hero we can be proud of. Post continues below video.

Video via Mamamia

A week out from her first tournament of 2020, Ash Barty’s days are less about sleep-ins and more about long, busy hours on the court.

“At the moment it is training, training and more training,” Ash told Mamamia of her current daily routine.

“I’m in the busy preseason part of my year and doing a lot of physical and on-court work in the lead up to the Australian summer. We train from around 8am until 4pm every day so there isn’t much downtime.

“I’m lucky that I get to go home after a long day and sleep in my own bed and see my boyfriend and puppies for the next month or so though.”

Ash’s first tournament of 2020 takes place at home in Brisbane. Then she’ll head interstate for the Adelaide International before the big one: The Australian Open on January 20.

The 23-year-old Queenslander has had a whirlwind 2019, beginning with her first career victory over a current world No. 1 player (Simona Halep at the 2019 Sydney International) and ending with herself holding that very title.

Does Australia act a bit like a helicopter parent to Ash Barty? Mamamia Out Loud discusses. Post continues below audio.

It’s a fitting end to a year which saw Ash cement her place on the world stage, revitalise Australian tennis and stake her claim as a household name across the country.

That last bit especially has taken her a bit of time to wrap her head around, the “low-key” Queenslander told Mamamia.

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“The way I live my life hasn’t changed but my schedule is definitely busier, and there is more attention on me than there used to be,” she said.

“I’m a pretty low-key person so I’m still getting used to that [but] the support from the Australian public has been amazing and I am so grateful for that.”

While many of us would feel the pressure that comes with ranking best in the world, Ash said it hasn’t changed her approach.

“Being in the number one position is an honour but it doesn’t change the way I go about my preparation,” she said.

“Regardless of the number next to my name, my team and I do things the same way and try to keep our routine as normal as possible.”

This means also warming up in a similar way before heading out to centre court, no matter which match or tournament she’s at. It’s this routine that helps Ash stay focused and calm.

Compared to fellow Australian players such as Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, whose controversial antics seem to dominate every headline they make, Ash has been quiet in her triumphs – of which there are many.

Indeed, she is a tennis player that Australia can be unreservedly proud of.

She has on many occasions said the unconditional love and support from her parents have contributed to her success.

ash barty news

When asked by Mamamia, Ash said the piece of advice that stuck with her most came from the people that raised her.

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"The advice my parents gave me is to be a good person first and foremost – that’s what I still focus on today," she said.

Despite how busy she is, Ash has been sure to dedicate time to causes she cares about, like encouraging young people to get involved in sport.

"Playing sport was something I loved as a kid and still love today," she told Mamamia.

"Sport can provide kids with so many benefits – new friendships, staying active and even career opportunities. The most important thing is to enjoy it and have fun, whatever the sport or level of involvement."

ash barty news
Image: Supplied.

She's most recently teamed up with Banana Boat to teach kids the importance of staying safe in the sun while having fun.

"I’ve grown up in Queensland under the Aussie sun and now spend my life in summer climates on the tennis tour. Protecting my skin every day is so important; I always wear a hat, drink plenty of water and use – and reapply – Banana Boat Sport SPF+ sunscreen."

As a new tennis season begins, Ash said she was stoked to be able to kick things off where it all started for her.

"I’m excited about 2020 and what it holds, especially being able to start the season at home," she said.

"We are so lucky to have a Grand Slam in Australia and the chance to play in front of Aussie crowds, I can’t wait."

Are you looking forward to a summer of tennis? Let us know in the comments below!

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