Emma Raducanu has shown ‘ruthless streak’ says commentator
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World no 1 Ashleigh Barty will not defend her season-ending WTA Finals title or compete again in 2021 due to quarantine restrictions in her native Australia. The 25-year-old, who spent two weeks in quarantine after returning from the US Open in September to her home in Brisbane, said she is “not willing to compromise my preparation for January” when the Australian Open is scheduled to begin.
“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.
“With the ongoing challenges of travelling 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 rest of the year.
“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 Wimbledon this year and was French Open champion in 2019, but has never been past the semi-final stage at her home Grand Slam.
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However, she hopes her latest decision will boost her chances of capturing the title in Melbourne.
“My focus is now on the Australian summer and doing everything I can to win the Australian Open. I can’t wait to play at home again,” she added.
Barty has had a mixed time in 2021, despite triumphing at SW19 where she beat Karolína Pliskova in three sets in the final.
However, she was forced to retire injured in the French Open and lost to unheralded Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round of the Olympics.
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Her US Open campaign ended in the third round when she lost to American Shelby Rogers, and having been on the road since March, the world no 1 clearly feels she needs time to recharge her batteries ahead of the 2022 season.
It means there will be a new name on the trophy after Barty pocketed $4.42 million for winning the event in 2019. She later won the WTA Player of the Year award, becoming the first Australian to ever receive the honour.
The tournament was culled in 2020 however, due to the complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s event takes place in Guadalajara, Mexico, from November 10-17.
Barty was one of five players to have already qualified for the event, with Aryna Sabalenka, Barbora Krejcikova, Karolína Pliskova, and Maria Sakkari having also booked places.
Overall, eight players will contest finals, and Barty’s withdrawal opens up another spot.
The tournament at the Panamerican Tennis Center will be the 50th version of the event.
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