Ash Barty will not defend her season-ending crown after formally ending her stellar 2021 season.
- Ash Barty is guaranteed to be world number one at the end of the year for the third straight time
- She returned to Queensland in September after the US Open and underwent the mandatory two-week quarantine
- Barty says she is ‘not willing to compromise her preparation for January’ with another quarantine stint
Australia’s world number one hasn’t played since the US Open in September and says her full focus now is on preparing for the Australian summer and another tilt at her home grand slam in Melbourne.
The 25-year-old added another five titles to her credit this season, including a second major at Wimbledon in July, and is assured of being year-end number one for a third straight campaign.
Barty pocketed the biggest cheque in tennis history — $6.4 million — after winning the WTA Finals in Shenzhen in 2019 before last year’s edition was cancelled because of the pandemic.
Not wanting to endure a second two-week stint in quarantine in barely two months, having returned home to Queensland in September, Barty has opted against travelling to the relocated 2021 WTA Finals in Mexico in mid-November.
“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 on Saturday.
“It was a difficult decision but I need to prioritise 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 travelling 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.”