World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty announced that she is skipping next month’s WTA Finals and won’t play again during the 2021 season.
Barty won five titles this year, including Wimbledon. She hasn’t played since being upset by Shelby Rogers in the third round of the U.S. Open on Sept. 4.
“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 released from her native Australia on Saturday (Friday U.S.).
“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 preseason for the Australian summer.”
The WTA Finals are scheduled for Nov. 10-17 in Guadalajara. Barty is the defending champion after winning in 2019. The event wasn’t held last season.
Barty, 25, said that COVID-19 regulations were a factor in the decision.
“With ongoing challenges of travelling back to Queensland and quarantine requirements, I am not willing to compromise my preparation for January,” Barty said.
Barty finishes her season assured of being No. 1 for the third straight year.
Barty has won 13 career titles, including two Grand Slam events. But she hasn’t won the big one for her — the Australian Open.
The top-seeded Barty lost in the quarterfinals in this year’s event at Melbourne, falling to 25th-seeded Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic in three sets.
–Field Level Media