World No. 1 Ash Barty will not defend French Open title

Ash Barty will not travel to Paris to defend her French Open title.

Barty, the world No. 1 from Australia, was a surprise winner at Roland Garros in 2019 where she won a first Grand Slam title by beating Marketa Vondrousova.

She opted against travelling to the US Open due to ‘significant risks’ posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – a factor in her decision to swerve the French Open.

But she further spelled out issues with her preparations, which have been disrupted by being unable to train with her coach Craig Tyzzer due to state border closures in Australia.

‘It has been a difficult decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year,’ said Barty in a statement.

‘Last year’s French Open was the most special tournament of my career so this is not a decision I have made lightly.

‘There are two reasons for my decision. The first is the health risks that still exist with Covid.

‘The second is my preparation, which has not been ideal without my coach being able to train with me due to the state border closures in Australia.

‘I wish the players and the French Federation all the best for a successful tournament.’

Barty will now focus on preparing for the 2021 season.

‘I now look forward to a long pre-season and the summer in Australia,’ she added.

‘It has been a challenging year for everyone and although I am disappointed on a tennis front, the health and well-being of my family and my team will always be my priority.

‘Thank you to my fans for your continued support, I can’t wait to play for you again.’

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