Sydney: Ashleigh Barty, the world number one and Wimbledon champion, withdrew from the season-ending WTA Finals on Saturday, deciding to stay at home and prepare for the Australian summer.
The Aussie hasn’t played since a shocking third-round exit at the US Open in September, and she’s now officially completed a year in which she won five trophies, including a second major at Wimbledon following her victory at the French Open in 2019.
“I wanted to let everyone know that I won’t be competing in any further tournaments in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico,” the 25-year-old said in a statement.
“It was a difficult decision but I need to prioritise my body and my recovery from our 2021 season and focus on having the strongest pre-season for the Australian summer.”
Barty won the WTA Finals in 2019, although the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak last year.
She spent the majority of this year outside of Australia due to rigorous quarantine restrictions, only returning in September and completing a necessary two-week stay in a hotel isolation room.
She stated that she was not prepared to go through it again, therefore ruining her chances of competing in the WTA Finals in Guadalajara next month.
Barty’s attention is now focused on the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, which will return to its usual January time slot in 2022 following a pandemic-related postponement this year.
A slew of WTA events are set to take place in the weeks preceding up to the season-opening Grand Slam, albeit the location of these events in Australia has yet to be determined due to pandemic fears.