WTA Finals: Ashleigh Barty faces tricky dilemma after qualifying for year-end final
World number one Ashleigh Barty faces a difficult dilemma after advancing to the WTA Finals in November.
Barty’s place at the end of season event was confirmed earlier this week. The defending champion qualified alongside world number two Aryna Sabalenka and Roland-Garros winner Barbora Krejčíková.
After a successful season, which included victories at the Melbourne Open, Miami Open, Stuttgart Open, Cincinnati Open and Wimbledon, Barty seemed delighted to have reserved her spot for the WTA Finals.
“Raising the Billie Jean King Trophy in Shenzhen in 2019 is one of the best moments of my career,” she said. “It’s a great honor to be among the top eight players in the world and to be the first to qualify for the 2021 WTA Finals.”
But all is not as it seems. It is still unclear whether Barty will make the final of the WTA, which has been moved from Shenzhen in China to Guadalajara in Mexico due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why could Ashleigh Barty withdraw from the WTA Finals?
Barty’s coach Craig Tyzzer has questioned the star’s participation in the WTA Finals. He revealed the Australian was planning to return home from Indian Wells next month, a trip that would require two weeks of quarantine upon arrival.
If Barty were to return to compete in the WTA Finals in Mexico, then she would have to endure another two weeks upon her return to her home country, before immediately starting preparations for the Australian Open in January.
“She has to come home, she’s a great homebody,” Tyzzer told AAP. “Indian Wells is still on the radar but she just needs a rest. She was physically and mentally exhausted.
“So I told him to get away and take a vacation and freshen up.
“We’ll probably make a decision at the end of the week on what she’s going to do depending on where she is.
“But it’s definitely not easy for us to get there and play this event in Mexico and then come back and have to do two [more] weeks [in quarantine] and then your summer is kind of ruined too.
“It’s a decision that we’ll have to sit down and think about a bit.”
Tyzzer also criticized the decision to host the prestigious season final in Guadalajara.
“We just found out that it is in Mexico at 1,500 meters (above sea level) and that they use non-pressurized bullets,” he said.
“Pressureless balls absolutely fly. It’s a ball that, if you use it under normal conditions, doesn’t bounce.
“I mean, it’s not the best advertisement for the best girls in the world to play something that they’ve never done before. In conditions they’ve never played, in a country where they don’t. not play and at altitude I just feel it’s ridiculous.
“As a show, it’s just scary.”
Barty could be further encouraged to skip the WTA Finals with his world number one status almost assured, due to his massive lead in the standings.
What are the WTA Finals?
The WTA Finals pit the best tennis players in the world against each other. The eight highest-ranked players at the end of the season are split into two groups of four and compete in a round robin format.
The winners and finalists from each group advance to the semi-finals, before the two finalists compete for the ultimate crown.
Barty defeated Elina Svitolina in the 2019 WTA Finals final, taking home $ 4.42million (£ 30.7million) in prize money. Last year’s tournament was canceled due to the pandemic.
This year’s competition will run from November 8 to 15.
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