Perth: French veteran Marion Bartoli hopes an extended preparation in Australia will have her primed for a big showing at next month's Australian Open.
Bartoli capped a consistent 2011 by climbing back to ninth in the season-ending rankings, equalling her career high position back in 2007.
The highlight of her year was a semi-final appearance at the French Open, and she also reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, as well as winning titles at Osaka and Eastbourne.
While many of her rivals were celebrating the festive season around the globe, the 27-year-old has been in Western Australia training determinedly since well before Christmas in a bid to acclimatise and give herself the edge in the first Grand Slam of the year.
"I'm living in Europe so I'm practising there and practising all winter indoors is not really the best preparation for playing outdoors, especially for the Australian Open," she said.
"I really needed a two-week practice session to get my game ready."
"It was a great priority for me to come here and practice."
"I'm really pleased with everything here so far in Perth."
Bartoli starts her build-up for the Australian Open on New Year's Eve, when she partners Richard Gasquet at the mixed teams Hopman Cup.
She will then round out her preparation at the Sydney International as she seeks to erase the disappointment of this year's Australian Open.
Bartoli was disappointingly bundled out in the second round in Melbourne in January by 146th-ranked Russian Vesna Dolonts.
She said the guarantee of three singles matches in Perth was one of the attractions of the Hopman Cup.
"That's great and I think I'm also going to practice with the girls before the tournament so it's going to be a very good warm-up before Sydney and the Australian Open."
"That's what we are looking for, having some great matches of preparation before the tournaments in Sydney and Melbourne."