World number one Ash Barty will not defend the WTA finals title in Guadalajara, Mexico, bringing her outstanding 2021 season to an early end.
In a statement released on Saturday, Ashley Barty announced she won’t be contesting any further tournaments in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico.
Further adding: “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 pre-season for the Australian summer.
“With ongoing challenges of traveling 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 the rest of the year,” she concluded.
Following her appearance at the U.S. Open in September - where she fell in the third round to Shelby Rogers 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), the Australian player returned to her homeland, Queensland, Australia.
Ever since, 25-year-old has not competed in any event, taking some time out after undergoing a two-week stint in quarantine due to the Covid-19 health measures for travelers to the country.
Barty contested 13 tournaments this year, earning fives singles titles, including Wimbledon, two WTA 1000, and two WTA 500.
2021 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
In Wimbledon, she earned her second Grand Slam title - after winning the French Open in 2019 - beating Karolina Plisova 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in the final.
In Miami, the top-ranked player in the world retained the crown with a dominant run throughout the tournament, reaching the championship match to earn back-to-back titles after edging Canadian Bianca Andreescu.
Barty led the score 6-3, 4-0 when Andreescu was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury.
The second WTA 1000 title of the season came in August at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where the Queenslander clinched a 6-3, 6-1 victory over wild card Jil Teichmann on Sunday’s final; she didn’t lose a single set during the event.
In April, the Australian came from a set down to outlast Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix held in Stuttgart, claiming the title in her tournament debut.
In her post-match press conference, Barty commented: “Tennis is a strange sport at times. Even though you can be a set down, I didn’t feel I was very far off. I had a couple of breakpoints and opportunities myself, you take one or two of those, and it’s a completely different ball game.
“I think it’s important to just continue to work in the right direction, try to do right things and know that over time you hopefully get the result, and if you don’t, you just keep going for the next time, and I think that’s a massively important attitude to have.”
Early in February, she triumphed on home soil at the Yarra Valley Classic, a WTA 500 event, part of the Melbourne Summer Series; the tournament also saw Barty playing her first event in nearly a full calendar year.
Barty, who has been the world’s No. 1 ranked player since September 2019, now shifts focus on the Australian summer, aiming for a good run at her home grand slam in Melbourne, the Australian Open, scheduled for January 17-30, 2022.
In 2021, she reached the quarterfinals at the AO and lost to Czech player Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 2-6.
The 2021 Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara marks the end of the season, featuring the Top 8 singles players and doubles teams.
The WTA Finals event will run from 10-17 November.