Australia (DT) Dec 10: Since she returned to the sport in 2016, Barty has consistently made it clear tennis will never govern her life. Even last year when she rose from 15th to No 1, she played only 15 tour events and returned home as much as she could. After a long stay in Europe during her Roland Garros title run, she did not touch a racket for two weeks. That decision may have cost her a deeper run at the US Open but certainly not her sanity. This time, faced with the choice of travelling around the tour or remaining at home, she seems to have welcomed the chance to take a beat. The pandemic will not end at the turn of the new year and she will eventually have to decide when is suitable for her to travel again, but when she does she will not have forgotten how to play.
As most of her top rivals close off their season this week in Ostrava, Barty will see out 2020 ranked No 1 for the second consecutive season. After the tour was suspended in March, the 52-week ranking system was amended so that players could retain points garnered since March 2019. Barty has spent 46 weeks at No 1 and unless the ranking system changes again she will remain there for at least another 15 weeks until the end of the Australian Open.