(Australian Associated Press)
Ashleigh Barty’s massive 2019 is set for a big finish but Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik is confident Australia’s golden girl won’t be suffering any burnout.
The world No.1 will wrap up her tour commitments at the season-ending WTA finals in Shenzhen, China, starting on Sunday.
Barty will then spearhead Australia’s team at the Fed Cup final against France in Perth on November 9-10.
The French Open champion is on track to become the first Australian since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002 to end the year with the No.1 ranking.
No Australian woman has achieved the feat since Margaret Court in 1973.
Molik has marvelled at Barty’s feats on the court and her ability to balance the gruelling demands of the tour with other aspects of her life.
“She’s very conscious of making sure that she comes back home to Brisbane, she has family time and time off. She loves picking up her golf clubs,” Molik told AAP.
“When she’s in competition, she’s ready and eager to hit the road again.
“That’s the maturity showing.
“A lot of tennis players are too afraid to put the racquet down for a few days but when you’re playing at such a high level – physically, mentally, emotionally – you have to know when those right times are to take a break.
“I think that’s what Ash does exceptionally well.”
Molik will soon select the Australian team vying to win the Fed Cup title for the first time in 45 years, with Samantha Stosur and Ajla Tomljanovic in the mix to back up Barty in the singles.
Brisbane native Barty will take on a star-studded field in Shenzhen including this year’s fellow grand slam title winners Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu.
“She’s always been able to bring her best tennis in finals,” Molik, a two-time grand slam doubles champion, said of Barty.
“She looks forward to the battle, and I think that’s where Ash is different too.
“Her game style allows her to really adapt to a lot of different situations and I think a lot of other female tennis players in the world don’t quite have that same ability.”