Barty has had a great start to the season, having won Adelaide and reached the Australian Open semifinals. However, she's full of praise for fellow No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has done even better. The Australian Open champion has won 14 singles matches in a row since the start of the season, including today's opening victory at Dubai.
“Novak’s incredible. Obviously for him the start of the year has been incredible in Australia,” the 23-year-old Australian said, speaking to press at Doha before the start of the event. “I think Australians see him having a little bit of that Aussie spirit, having won so many times Down Under.
"I know that he’s an incredible athlete, he’s an incredible ambassador for our sport. He’s a great person to bring our sport into the light.”
The Aussie didn't play the women's event at Dubai a week ago, saying she wasn't fully fit, but is now eager to compete again.
"I needed to have an extra few days off just to let my body settle. We had a couple little niggles going on after the Australian Open," she said. “I think it was about 10 days of no racket and then, just because I needed to give myself those extra few days.
“In a perfect world, it probably would have been just under a week, but I had to give myself that extra time just to make sure that it didn’t derail the rest of my season. Sometimes you have to make those decisions to make sure that in the long-term you are looking after yourself. I feel really good now. For me, this is a new place to visit, a new experience, a new culture and I’m loving it.”
Up next for Barty is the winner of the match between red-hot Elena Rybakina and Alison Van Uytvanck.