Barty and Stosur bring clear minds to Wimbledon
Ash Barty will rely on instinct not science while Sam Stosur says she is ready to conquer her mental demons at the All England Club.
Barty's journey to the top started at the All England Club a year ago when she won her first main draw contest, reaching the third round.
The sequence continued at the US (fourth round) and Australian Opens (quarter-final) before Barty made the massive jump from second-round in 2018 at the French Open to Roland Garros champion.
The Queenslander's habit of improving at every phase over the past 18 months is more about instinct than science.
It's a pattern she will tap into during her first-round clash with Zheng Saisai at Wimbledon where, if Barty is to lift the title, she will have to extend her unbeaten run to 19 wins.
With 12 wins since losing in Rome last month, Barty has soared from No 8 to No 1.
Unsurprisingly, the laid-back Australian will stick to a proven formula - rather than becoming bogged down in data - when she goes into battle with Zhang.
"When I play my best tennis it's when I'm playing with a little bit of feel and trying to adapt as much as I can," she said.
"But there are certainly some analytics that we look to try and pick some areas that we want to target, whether it's where I want to hit the ball or how I want to position myself on the court.
"We look at it a little bit but, overall, there are only probably one or two key things that we think about each match and then the rest is going out there and playing."
Barty is favourite to win Wimbledon, a status she is not entirely comfortable with.
But she is typically unbothered over where she might be assigned to play.
As world No 1 and the sport's newest grand slam champion, Barty can expect to be on one of the main show courts.
She is yet to play singles on centre court, an honour she is certain to receive should she continue in current form.
"I've played on centre court once (in the women's doubles final with Casey Dellacqua)," Barty said.
"Played a few times on curt 1, but the size of the court, they're all the same.
"The lines are the same.
"Where you're scheduled onto play, there isn't a bad court at Wimbledon so wherever I'm scheduled to play on, we'll go out there and do our best."
STOSUR HAS THE MINDSET TO SUCCEED
Samantha Stosur is adopting a "better later than never" approach to Wimbledon, declaring her mind finally free of tormenting grass court demons.
The US Open winner and French Open finalist has inexplicably underperformed at the All England Club despite having the weapons to succeed.
At 35 and ranked No 132, Stosur has this year posted more wins on grass than clay, her favourite surface.
After 15 fruitless attempts at the home of tennis, where she has bombed out in the first round six times, Stosur believes she has the mindset to succeed.
"Last year, I felt like I was able to kinda turn that head space around and feel this way," Stosur said.
"I feel relaxed and in a good place with the way I'm hitting to go into any event, let alone a grand slam.
"Obviously you want that to transfer into good results and good wins.
"Obviously the things I can control in the lead up, I'm doing well.
"That's all you can do is prepare the best you can and give myself the best opportunity with my mindset and see how we go."
Stosur has been urged by coaches and fellow players to trust her game on grass, but "it's not that I didn't consider it, I just found it hard and stressful compared to other surfaces."
"I feel like I can flatten out my forehand now, that I feel like I've got a better slice backhand now,
"Fingers crossed I can keep it all coming from these last couple of weeks."
Stosur's record at Wimbledon - 12-15 - is vastly inferior to her hauls at the French (40-16), US (22-13) and Australian Opens (18-17).
Ranked No 132 in the world, Stosur faces 30th seed Carla Suarez Navarro on Tuesday, intent on climbing back into the top 100.
"I don't really like where I am, so trying to do better," she said.
"But since it's (dropping out of the top 100), happened, I've played better so hopefully it keeps going that way."
"I feel like I've got a really good game to play against Carla, but I'll have play a very good match to get through."
AUSSIES IN ACTION AT WIMBLEDON
Ajla Tomljanovic v 29-Daria Kasatkina (Rus)
Daria Gavrilova v 8-Elina Svitolina (Ukr)
Astra Sharma v 27-Sofia Kenin (US)
Alexei Popyrin v Pablo Carrena-Busta (Spa)
1-Ashleigh Barty v Saisai Zheng (Chi)
Arina Rodionova v Taylor Townsend (US)
Samantha Stosur v 30-Carla Suarez-Navarro
25-Alex de Minaur v Marco Cecchinato (Ita)
Nick Kyrgios v Jordan Thompson
John Millman v Hugo Dellien (Bol)
Matt Edben v 24-Diego Schwartzman (Arg)
Bernard Tomic v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra)