World No. 30 Danielle Collins admitted playing Ashleigh Barty in the Australian Open wasn't easy but noted she was ready for the challenge. Collins, seeded at No. 27, lost her first Grand Slam final as Barty beat the American 6-3 7-6 (2) to lift her maiden Australian Open title.
The whole stadium was against Collins but she loved the moment. "It's not easy going out and playing someone pretty much on their home court, on home soil, in the finals of a major, but this is what we live for in sports, right?" Collins said afterwards.
"These are incredible moments that you don't get to experience very often. It was a real honor to be out there. I tried to embrace every moment, I tried to get the crowd fired up. I tried to get myself into it, did everything I could.
"That kind of stuff [a moment in which Collins was heckled] only helps me. Those who've watched me over the last couple of years have seen that and learned that. I love nothing more than someone doing something like that because I love competing and trying to make it fun."
Collins succeeding without a coach
Collins thinks she can do things on her own and she believed he had the right game plan against Barty. "I really am having to coach myself," she said. "You know, so many of the top players have a full entourage or posse and support team doing their homework for them.
That's not the way it's been for me really ever in my career. I haven't worked consistently with a coach for longer than a few months. So I've had to do a lot on my own and a lot of homework, a lot of scouting, a lot of technical work.
It hasn't been easy. It's been very challenging and mentally taxing at times. "I think I went in with the right game plan. I did, again, everything I could, but unfortunately there were some things that were just not working for me.
That's really hard technically, if you're not in a good place physically, to be able to get yourself to do those things."