World No. 1 Ash Barty of Australia says she will not defend her French Open title due to COVID-19 risks

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World No. 1 Ash Barty of Australia has said that she had decided to not travel to France later this month to defend her French Open title due to COVID-19 risks. The French Open was postponed in the summer due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The grand slam is now expected to start from 21 September.

Barty wrote in a moving note, “It has been a difficult decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year. 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.”

She said that she wished ‘the players and the French Federation all the best for a successful tournament.’ “I now look forward to a long preseason and the summer in Australia. 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,” Barty concluded.

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It has been a difficult decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year. 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. I now look forward to a long preseason and the summer in Australia. 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.

A post shared by Ash Barty (@ashbarty) on

Earlier, the All England Club (AELTC) had decided to cancel this year’s Wimbledon grand slam due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic. The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021. It is the first time since the Second World War the oldest tennis tournament in the world, founded in 1877, will not be held.

Meanwhile, the US Open grand slam is currently being played before an empty court. However, several top names including Roger Federer and Rafale Nadal have puleld out of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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