Late start hands Ash extended family break
A family Christmas and the Brisbane International loom as the perfect way for world No.1 Ash Barty to start her bid for a maiden Australian Open crown.
Proud Queenslander Barty will have the weight of a nation on her shoulders as she attempts to become the first Aussie woman since Chris O'Neil in 1978 to win the Australian Open singles title.
Not that Barty is feeling the pressure.
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With the Brisbane International not starting until January 6, the 23-year-old Ipswich product will relish the chance to relax with her family for Christmas before getting down the business of dominating the Australian summer of tennis.
"Christmas Day for me is with the family," Barty said.
"Spending time with loved ones not just for me but also for my team … is really nice for all of us to be with our families.
"With the (tournament) calendar next year starting that week later, we have a bit more flexibility over that Christmas period, with still a few days up our sleeve before we start in early January."
Barty will need to be at her best almost straight away, with of six the world's top-10 players part of an incredibly strong Brisbane International field that also includes American legend Venus Williams.
"Brisbane historically has one of the toughest fields across the whole calendar," Barty said.
"The depth of the draw shows the quality of the tournament, and girls love coming here so starting off next year is going to be no different.
"It's really exciting for the fans here in Queensland. They're always really good crowds here.
"It's always really fun to play out on that centre court at Pat Rafter Arena."
Meanwhile, Barty won't be ditching doubles in pursuit of individual honours in 2020.
Barty will carry a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and that includes playing doubles with her best mates on tour.
Barty reached all four grand slam doubles finals with "best mate" Casey Dellacqua before landing her maiden singles major at last year's French Open in Paris.