Ashleigh Barty withdraws from WTA finals and ends 2021 season

The 25-year-old, Ashleigh Barty, has not played since she was knocked out in the third round at the U.S. Open in September.

Ashleigh Barty in a file photo, Image credit: Twitter

Ashleigh Barty, the No. 1 player on the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA’s) world ranking table, will not attend the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico between November 10 and 17, the Wimbledon Championship winner announced on Saturday.

NOT WILLING TO COMPROMISE MY PREPARATION – ASHLEIGH BARTY

“I wanted to let everyone know that I won’t be competing in any further tournaments in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico,” said Barty in a statement. “It was a difficult decision but I need to prioritize my body and my recovery from our 2021 season and focus on having the strongest pre-season for the Australian summer.”

The 25-year-old Australian ace has not played since she was knocked out in the third round at the U.S. Open in September. Since she won the WTA Finals title in 2019 and the event was cancelled because of COVID-19 in 2020, Barty is the legitimate reigning champion of the event.

Australia has strict COVID-19 protocols and it remains to be seen what measures will be in place when the Australian Open takes place in January. When Barty returned home in September after months of competitions overseas, she spent two weeks in mandatory quarantine in a hotel.

“With ongoing challenges of traveling back to Queensland and quarantine requirements, I am not willing to compromise my preparation for January. I wish the WTA team and the players all the best for a successful WTA Finals and the rest of the year,” said Barty.

Barty’s best record in the Australian Open was reaching the semifinals in 2020 before losing to U.S. competitor Sofia Kenin. She was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Karolína Muchova of the Czech Republic in 2021. In July, she defeated Karolína Pliskova of the Czech Republic to win the Wimbledon Championship title, adding a second Grand Slam trophy to her name.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC NOT SURE IF HE’LL PARTICIPATE AT THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Given the kind of 2021 Novak Djokovic has had, you would expect that every time he made headlines, it would be for reasons that are more positive than negative. Yet anyone who’s followed the Serbian’s career is aware of his tendency to make news for all the wrong reasons.

And so it has proved again. The 2021 Australian Open champion is unsure if he will defend his crown at the start of next year. The reason? The country’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“Things beings as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” Djokovic told Serbian publication Blic. “I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

“People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person. Whatever you say, ‘yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it’, they will take advantage.”

It’s worth noting that, at this point, it is unclear if Djokovic has been vaccinated or not. He has merely refused to divulge his vaccination status.

Not that it matters; Australia’s federal immigration minister Alex Hawke made it clear that everyone entering Australia will need to be double jabbed, and no exceptions were likely.

“I don’t have a message for (Djokovic), I have a message to everybody who wishes to visit Australia – you will need to be double vaccinated,” he told ABC radio.

If this seems like a harsh stance to some, Hawke made clear his priority was to keep everyone safe.

“(The virus) doesn’t care what your tennis ranking is, or how many grand slams you’ve won. It’s completely irrelevant. You need to be vaccinated to keep yourself safe and to keep others safe.”




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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