Barty withdraws from WTA final to focus on Australian Open preparations
October 23 (Reuters) – World number one Ash Barty will not defend her WTA Finals title in Mexico next month after the Wimbledon champion decided to end her 2021 season prematurely.
Barty won the season-end tournament when it was last held in Shenzhen in November 2019, but the Australian will not be traveling to Guadalajara to participate in this year’s event which runs from November 10-17.
“I wanted to let everyone know that I will not be participating in any other tournament in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico,” Barty said in a statement. “It was a tough decision but I have to prioritize my body and my recovery from our 2021 season and focus on the best preseason for the Australian summer.”
Barty returned to Australia in September after a third round outing of the US Open, ending a season in which she won five titles including Wimbledon. She had previously been excluded from the Australia squad which will play next month in the Billie Jean King Cup final in Prague.
The 25-year-old will now focus on preparing for the Australian Open in January, where she will look to improve her run to the quarter-finals in 2021.
“With the ongoing challenges of returning to Queensland and the quarantine requirements, I am not prepared to compromise my preparation for January,” she said. “I’m now focusing on the Australian summer and doing all I can to win the Australian Open. I can’t wait to play at home again.”
Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by Will Dunham
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