Barty "excited" by Williams challenge
ASHLEIGH Barty says she cannot wait to take on one of the greatest players of all time in round one of the Australian Open on Rod Laver Arena tonight.
The Ipswich teen has drawn world No.1 Serena Williams who is coming off the best season of her career in 2013, winning 11 titles and a WTA Tour record $A13.9 million in prize money.
Rather than be daunted by the challenge, Barty said she would go on court with a game plan aimed at victory.
"I think you have to go out believing you can win the match, otherwise there's no point walking out on the court really," the 17-year-old said. "I'm going to do all that I can to try to win it. Whatever happens happens. I'm really excited for the challenge."
Barty, ranked No.153 in the world, hasn't played since withdrawing from the Brisbane International after twinging her left adductor muscle in the first round win in the doubles with regular partner Casey Dellacqua.
She said she was confident the injury would not hamper her game tonight.
"From the medical advice we were given up in Brisbane, it's been perfect and spot on, which is great."
Dellacqua is also in action today, drawn to meet former world No.2 Vera Zvonareva who is making a comeback after battling hip and shoulder injuries. The Russian has not played on tour since the 2012 London Olympics when she lost in the fourth round to eventual gold medallist Serena Williams.
Five other Aussies - Jarmila Gajdosova, Samantha Stosur, Jordan Thompson, Matthew Ebden and Sam Groth - are also involved on day one.
Gajdosova will get proceedings under way on Rod Laver Arena when she takes on Germany's Angelique Kerber.
Gajdosova is playing on a wildcard and will have her work cut out against the No.9 seed.
The only seeded Australian in the tournament at 17, Stosur has drawn Czech Klara Zakopalova. The pair met in the semi-finals of the Hobart International just last week, Zakopalova taking the honours 6-3 6-2. Remarkably, this will be the hird time in the past eight years they have met in the first round at Melbourne Park, Stosur having taken the honours in 2007 and 2009.
On paper, Ebden has the best chance of the Aussie men.
The world No.67 will take on world No.46 Nicolas Mahut from France.
Thompson, who earned his spot by winning the wildcard tournament, will meet big-serving Pole Jersey Janowicz, seeded 20.
And Groth, given a wildcard after reaching the quarter-finals in Brisbane, has drawn No.28 seed Vasek Posposil of Canada.