Aussie tennis star Ash Barty’s withdrawal from next week’s Indian Wells Masters event has shrouded her season in a cloud of doubt. Chances are Barty, who hasn’t competed since her shock exit at Flushing Meadows, won’t be playing any more tennis this year.
Barty’s withdrawal from the California tournament follows similar moves by Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka.
While the world No. 1 had been set to defend her WTA Finals crown in Mexico in November, her coach, Craig Tyzzer, recently revealed the 25-year-old may also skip that event over precarious conditions in Guadalajara.
In Mexico, a country roughly 1500m above sea level, the norm is to use pressure-less balls. Tyzzer said it would be beyond ridiculous to expect Barty to play in such conditions, and that he and the rest of Barty’s team would first mull it over their heads before making a final decision regarding her participation in the event.
According to Tyzzer, the nature of pressure-less balls is that they fly. When played at normal conditions, they don’t bounce, which makes for strange and unexpected behaviour.
For Barty, her main priority right now is to be properly fit and prepared for participating in next year’s Australian Open, in January. This will include being ready for two weeks of quarantine ahead of the tournament.
She’s spent a super demanding year on the road and on the court, but also one that saw her successfully hold onto her world No. 1 ranking.
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