Wildcard entry for Barty at Hobart International
IPSWICH-based 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty will contest the Moorilla Hobart International for a second time after she was awarded a wildcard yesterday.
"I'm looking forward to returning to Hobart next week," Barty said.
"Last year I made my WTA main draw debut at the event so I'm excited to get back to the Domain Tennis Centre and do my best.
"2012 has been a big year for me. I've come a long way and feel like my game has improved a lot.
"It will be challenging, with some of the world's top players competing, but I'm up for it.''
The 2011 Wimbledon Junior champion has enjoyed a remarkable period in 2012.
Having started the year at world No.669, Barty finishes 2012 with a career high ranking of 175.
That was made possible by four ITF singles and four ITF doubles titles, including a win at the $50,000 ITF tournament in Nottingham, UK.
Last month, the Springfield teenager also reached the quarterfinals of the $75,000 ITF event in Toyota, Japan.
To complement her stellar season, Barty was named Female Junior Athlete of the Year at the Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards early this month.
Tournament director Mark Handley was pleased to invite Australia's rising star to Hobart.
"Ash has worked hard this year and is making a solid transition onto the professional circuit,'' Handley said. "She is just one of two 16-year-olds with a world ranking under 200 and continues to improve.
"We hope she can use the tournament to get her 2013 season off to a great start."
Barty will be the second Australian to compete in Hobart's main draw after 2011 champion Jarmila Gajdosova was awarded a wildcard on Thursday.
Barty will play the Hopman Cup in Perth, before travelling to Tasmania.