Barton returns to Pro Tour in Cairns
Matt Barton has returned to the Pro Tour in Cairns in a different position - that of tournament favourite after a breakout season.
After recently arriving back on home soil to compete in this year’s Cairns Tennis International, Matthew Barton opened his account with a straight-sets first round victory over Aaron Addison on Wednesday.
“It was kind of a last minute decision,” Barton said of his appearance at the Pro Tour event, where he has been handed the mantle of top seed.
“I was going to play qualifying in Tokyo (ATP 500) and Shanghai (ATP Masters) but the cuts were too strong – I actually missed out by one place in Tokyo – so I decided I may as well come to beautiful Cairns.
“I’ll hang around a bit now. I’ll play here and then Traralgon and Canberra.”
Currently ranked 183rd, the 24-year-old from Sydney has enjoyed a breakout season which included an emotional first-round win at Wimbledon – his first at Grand Slam level.
“A lot of things have happened over the last year,” he said. “It’s been my best on tour. It’s pretty positive signs for me at the moment.”
Barton puts his recent success down to hard work and confidence in his game. “That’s the main thing for me. I’ve had injuries in the past so it’s about keeping the fitness going and letting the results take care of themselves.
“I’ve always had that confidence inside me, it’s just the experience I lacked, but now I’ve got a bit of that under my belt it does help. Especially coming into this week, I can take a lot from that.”
Looking ahead, Barton reiterated a desire to crack into the world’s top 100.
“That’s a big one for me, for sure,” he said. “Then obviously the Australian Open. I’ve never played a main draw there, so that’s another big goal I’d like to fulfil. Playing in the main draw in front of family and friends would be great.”
Turning his attention back to Cairns, Barton discussed the impact of his higher standing at Pro Tour level.
“There’s a lot of added pressure being the No.1 seed,” he said. “It’s different for me as I’m usually an underdog. It’s something I’ll have to get used to for the future, hopefully.”
It has been smooth sailing for all the seeds in Cairns thus far, with second seed Luke Saville moving ahead in straight sets alongside Chris O’Connell (No.3), Marc Polmans (No.4) and Blake Mott (No.5).
Oliver Anderson, 18, also returned to action with a three-set win over qualifier James Frawley.