Ashleigh Barty will not defend her French Open title, announces she will not travel to Europe
(CNN) -- World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty will not be in Paris to defend her French Open tennis title.
The Australian said in a statement that she would not be traveling to Europe in part because of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as factoring in her lack of preparedness to play at Roland Garros.
"It has been a difficult decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year," Barty said in a statement. "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.
"I now look forward to a long preseason 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. Thank you to my fans for your continued support, I can't wait to play for you again."
In the 2019 French Open, Barty defeated Marketa Vondrousova to win her first major title. Later that June, Barty rose to No. 1 in the WTA rankings for the first time.
Barty, 24, announced in late July that she would not compete at the Western & Southern Open or the US Open in New York, citing Covid-19 concerns.
The French Open is normally the second major in the tennis calendar year, traditionally beginning in late May and ending in early June. This year's tournament was moved because of the coronavirus and now starts later this month. Wimbledon was canceled because of the pandemic earlier this year.
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