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Ash Barty Will Not Defend Her French Open Title This Year

Ash Barty Will Not Defend Her French Open Title This Year

Ash Barty will not be defending her French Open title in 2020.

The Aussie world number one has confirmed she won't be competing in the prestigious tournament this year, citing COVID-19 restrictions, a lack of preparation and border closures as her reasons.

24-year-old Barty clinched her maiden grand slam title at Roland Garros last year, but will be watching this year's competition from her home in Australia.

"It has been a difficult decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year," Barty said in a statement via social media.

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"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.

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World No.1 Ash Barty Pulls Out Of US Open
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"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 well-being of my family and my team will always be my priority.

Ash Barty won her very first grand slam at the French Open in 2019. Credit: PA
Ash Barty won her very first grand slam at the French Open in 2019. Credit: PA

"Thank you to my fans for your continued support, I can't wait to play for you again."

The French Open was originally meant to start in May but COVID-19 restrictions forced officials to rescheduled it to late September.

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And with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to plague live sporting events around the globe, many more players are expected to follow Barty's lead in withdrawing from major tournaments.

Queenslander Barty, along with a host of big-name tennis stars, made headlines earlier this year when they decided to sit out of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.

And it appears they're planning on doing the same at Rolland Garros in Paris.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Pandemic, Coronavirus, US Open, Australia, Fixtures, Covid-19

Max Sherry

Max Sherry is a journalist for SPORTbible Australia. After migrating Down Under from London as a teenager, he instantly fell in love with Aussie sport and its culture. From NRL to AFL, cricket to rugby — you name it, Max watches it (with a beer in hand, of course). During his time at Fox Sports, he worked in the football department covering the Premier League, A-League, Socceroos and Matildas. Born a stone's throw away from West Ham's training ground, Max is obviously a die-hard Liverpool fan.