You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Barty receives Brisbane wildcard

AAP logoAAP 22/12/2016 Laine Clark

Tennis is fun again for Ashleigh Barty.

And no wonder.

The ex-Wimbledon junior champion has just received a wildcard for next month's Brisbane International and the Australian Open.

But the 20-year-old's smile had returned on court well before Friday's announcement.

All thanks to a little help from her friend, Casey Dellacqua.

World No.274 Barty has credited the 2011 French Open mixed doubles champion with helping her rekindle her love for the sport.

Twelve months ago Barty was playing cricket.

She "fell out of love" with tennis in 2014 and featured in the 2015-16 Women's Big Bash League for Brisbane Heat before picking up a racquet again in February.

But it wasn't until Barty visited a recovering Dellacqua soon after that the tennis bug truly bit hard again.

"A big part of it was Casey. I went and saw her earlier in the year when she was going through her issues," Barty said of Dellacqua who was battling concussion.

"When I caught up with her it was great to jump back out on court."

Barty made her doubles debut with Dellacqua at the 2012 Brisbane International.

For 12 months they were almost unstoppable, making three 2013 grand slam doubles finals together.

So Barty felt it was fitting that her Brisbane International comeback featured Dellacqua by her side after the pair also received a doubles wildcard.

"It's good to come out here and resurrect my career again with her out here," Barty said.

"It nice to have a mate. She's known me from the start and knows what I have been through.

"She's a great girl and we are both excited to come out here and start again in Brisbane."

Barty said she had overcome the lingering arm issues that troubled her tennis comeback for seven months.

She also gave the thumbs up for ex-world No.26 Dellacqua who spent time away from the sport this year to recover from post concussion syndrome after a nasty fall at the 2015 Beijing Open.

"It's been an up and down year, battled through a few injuries," said Barty who also overcame an abdominal strain.

"It was going to take some time to get used to playing tennis again but now I am excited about being fit and healthy.

"Hopefully we can come out here in the first round and surprise a few people."

Dellacqua, 31, is also expected to receive the final Brisbane women's singles main draw wildcard

The Brisbane International starts on January 1.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon