World number one and Wimbledon champion Ashley Barty withdrew from the WTA Finals ending the season on Saturday and chose to stay at home and focus on preparing for the Australian summer.
The Australian did not play in the third round of the US Open in September and has now officially ended a year with five titles, including a second major at Wimbledon after winning the French Open in 2019.
“I wanted to tell everyone that I will not participate in any more tournaments in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico,” the 25-year-old said in a statement.
“It was a difficult decision but I need to prioritize my body and my recovery from my 2021 season and focus on having the strongest pre-season for the Australian summer.”
Barty won the WTA final in 2019 before last year’s version was canceled due to the corona virus epidemic.
He spent most of this year abroad due to strict quarantine rules upon entry into Australia, finally returning in September and spending the required two weeks in hotel solitude.
He said he was not ready to go through it again, giving up any hope of playing in the WTA Finals in Guadalajara next month.
“With the ongoing challenges of returning to Queensland and the need for quarantine, I am not prepared to compromise my readiness for January,” he said.
“I wish the WTA team and the players all the best for the WTA Final and the rest of the year.”
Barty’s focus is now on the Australian Open in Melbourne Park, which will resume its traditional January time slot in 2022 after a delay in epidemics this year.
The WTA is set to host the events in the weeks leading up to the season’s inaugural Grand Slam, although it remains to be seen where they will be played in Australia due to epidemics.