World No. 1-ranked Ash Barty won’t defend her season-ending WTA Finals title and is done for the year due to continuing COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions.
“I wanted to let everyone know that I won’t be competing in any further tournaments in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico,” Barty said in a statement on Saturday. “It was a difficult decision but I need to prioritize my body and my recovery from our 2021 season.”
Barty hasn’t played since the U.S. Open in September and says her focus now is on preparing for another attempt at winning her home Australian Open in Melbourne in January.
The 25-year-old Barty won five titles this season, including a second major at Wimbledon in July, and is assured of ending as year-end No. 1.
Barty won the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, China in 2019 before last year’s edition was not played because of the pandemic.
She had to undergo two weeks of quarantine when she returned to her Brisbane home in September after the U.S. Open and doesn’t want to do the same again if she travels to the relocated WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico from Nov. 10-17.
“With ongoing challenges of traveling back to Queensland and quarantine requirements, I am not willing to compromise my preparation for January,” Barty said.