Melbourne, Australia, 9 February 2021 | Leigh Rogers

Ash Barty begins her Australian Open 2021 campaign tonight – and according to Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup captain Alicia Molik, the world No.1 is inspiring more than her many fans.

Molik believes Barty’s achievements are also strengthening Australian tennis as a whole.

“Having your own countrywoman at the top, it’s pretty inspiring,” Molik says.

The 24-year-old Barty has spent the past 11 months training with her peers at home in Brisbane, as well as in Melbourne in recent weeks.

“Ash is really generous with her time too and training with our other Aussies players. It has a huge impact,” Molik believes.

“I get the sense that they’re all being carried through on the wave a little bit and it will inspire them. I feel like they are all pretty proud to be a part of what Ash is doing.”

Ajla Tomljanovic is already through to the Australian Open second round – and Barty is one of seven Aussie women in action today hoping to join her.

> READ: Aussie women set for AO 2021

Exciting momentum is also evident in Australian men’s tennis, with Nick Kyrgios, Alex Bolt, James Duckworth and Bernard Tomic all winning first-round matches yesterday.

Another seven Aussie men are competing in opening-round action today, including our top-ranked man Alex de Minaur.

The 21-year-old De Minaur possesses an exemplary work ethic and insatiable appetite for improvement.

“I strongly believe I’ll never get to the point where I’m satisfied with myself or my game,” the No.21 seed admitted this week. “That’s just giving me the fire in the belly to keep improving.”

With such role models leading the way, there is clearly a lot of reasons for Aussie tennis fans to be excited right now.

> READ: Aussie men ready for AO 2021

Aussies in action today:

Men’s singles, first round
[WC] Christopher O’Connell (AUS) v Jan-Lennard Struff (GER), Court 7, first match (from 11am AEDT)
[WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS)
v [13] David Goffin (BEL), Court 3, second match
[WC] Li Tu (AUS)
v Feliciano Lopez (ESP), Court 7, third match
[WC] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v [19] Karen Khachanov (RUS), Court 8, third match
[21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Tennys Sandgren (USA), John Cain Arena, third match (not before 4pm AEDT)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [24] Casper Ruud (NOR), 1573 Arena, fourth match
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Soonwoo Kwon (KOR), Court 3, fourth match (not before 5pm AEDT)

> VIEW: Full Australian Open day two schedule

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Maddison Inglis (AUS) v [4] Sofia Kenin (USA), Rod Laver Arena, day session, first match (from 11am AEDT)
[WC] Astra Sharma (AUS) v Nao Hibino (JPN), Court 3, first match (from 11am AEDT)
[WC] Arina Rodionova (AUS) v Madison Brengle (USA), Court 7, second match
[WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS) v [WC] Sam Stosur (AUS), John Cain Arena, fourth match
[1] Ash Barty (AUS) v Danka Kovinic (MNE), Rod Laver Arena, night session, first match (from 7pm AEDT)
[WC] Daria Gavrilova (AUS) v Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP), Margaret Court Arena, night session, second match

> TV GUIDE: How to watch Australian Open 2021

Australian Open 2021 tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.