Six-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer says Ashleigh Barty should be thinking 'I'm the one to beat'

Tennis legend Roger Federer believes Ashleigh Barty has earned the right to think she's the one to beat (PA Images)
14:57pm, Wed 15 Jan 2020
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Tennis legend Roger Federer has said that world No 1 Ashleigh Barty can explore all of her potential at the upcoming Australian Open.

Barty reached the quarter-finals last year where she was defeated by Petra Kvitova in straight sets.

Since the last edition of the tournament the Australian became world No 1. She achieved the feat in June of last year after winning the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

An Australian hasn't won a singles title in Melbourne since Chris O'Neill in 1978 and Federer has said Barty can deal with the expectations.

He also said that because of her achievements she no longer has to 'break through' and can explore her potential.

"She doesn't need to break through anymore - for it's just a matter of can she defend. Because that's a different mindset.

"To some extent it takes more pressure wanting to do that, but at the same time it can also relax you.

"You can really explore all the potential you have. That's what happened to me when I won my first major, or broke through as world number one for the very first time.

"After that I thought I'm the guy to beat. I prefer to be in this position than the contender. I hope that Ash is also going to see it that way."

The Australian Open is due to begin on January 20.