Ashleigh Barty ends season, won’t defend WTA Finals title

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has withdrawn from the WTA Finals and announced that her 2021 season is over. 

Barty, 25, last played at the US Open, where she made the third round before suffering a shock loss to Shelby Rogers. 

Barty captured the WTA Finals crown in 2019 but she didn’t have a chance to defend her title last year since the season-ending event was canceled in 2020. 

Barty has earned the most points in 2021 but she won’t travel to Guadalajara to defend her WTA Finals crown. 

“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.

“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.”

Barty’s decision to skip the WTA Finals not a surprise

Over a month ago, Barty’s coach Craig Tyzzer slammed the WTA over their location for this year’s WTA Finals.

“We only just found out it’s in Mexico at 1500 metres (above sea level) and they’re using pressure-less balls,” Tyzzer told AAP. “Pressure-less balls absolutely fly. It’s a ball that if you use it in normal conditions, it doesn’t bounce. 

“I mean, it’s not the greatest advertisement for the best girls in the world to be playing something they’ve never done before. 

“In conditions they’ve never played, in a country they don’t play and at altitude, I just feel it’s ridiculous.

“As a spectacle, it’s just frightening.”