World No.1 Ashleigh Barty announced that she will not travel to Europe to defend her Roland Garros title and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season.
“It has been a difficult decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year,” Barty said in an official statement via Tennis Australia.
“Last year’s French Open was the most special tournament of my career so this is not a decision I have made lightly."
Barty made her major breakthrough in Paris at the height of what was a revelatory season, one that saw her capture titles at the Miami Open, the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, and the Nature Valley Classic, where she ascended to World No.1.
“There are two reasons for my decision," she continues. "The first is the health risks that still exist with COVID. The second is my preparation, which has not been ideal without my coach Craig Tyzzer 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."
Barty finished 2019 atop the WTA rankings and began 2020 by winning her eighth career WTA title at the Adelaide International and by reaching the semifinals of her home Grand Slam at the Australian Open, where she aims to make a triumphant return in 2021.
“I now look forward to a long pre-season 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 wellbeing 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.”