Top-Ranked Tennis Player Ash Barty Won’t Defend French Open Title Amid COVID-19

FILE - In this June 8, 2019, file photo, Australia's Ash Barty holds the trophy as she celebrates winning her women's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in two sets 6-1, 6-3, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris. Top-ranked Ash Barty has withdrawn from the U.S. Open because she is not comfortable with traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Ash Barty won’t be defending her 2019 French Open title.  

The WTA’s No. 1 player announced on Instagram she’s withdrawing from this year’s tournament, which was postponed until Sept. 21.

There are two reasons for my decision,” Barty wrote. “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.”

The 24-year-old opted out of the U.S. Open for similar reasons, and she went on to say her focus is on training for the 2021 WTA season.

Barty appeared in four tournaments before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the sports world to go on hold. She won the Adelaide International in January and reached the semifinals of the Australian Open later in the month.

Barty captured the first Grand Slam championship of her career at Roland Garros last year, defeating Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

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