Ashleigh Barty is exhausted, she craves to get back home to Australia and the altitude of Guadalajara makes for extremely challenging conditions. These are all the reasons that may see the world No.1 skip her WTA Finals title defense, as her long-time coach Craig Tyzzer told the Australian Associated Press.
Tyzzer explained that Barty is a homebody and really needs rest, but traveling to Australia is super complicated in the time of COVID, as two weeks of quarantine are required upon arrival to the country. Barty will definitely play the rescheduled BNP Paribas Open that starts on October 6, but her participation in the WTA Finals is quite unlikely. They’ll make the final decision by the end of the week.
Since the pandemic prevented the 2021 WTA Finals from being staged in Shenzhen, China, the WTA made a decision to move the tournament to Guadalajara, Mexico this year. Tyzzer is extremely dissatisfied with this choice of location, because of its high altitude. It is yet another reason why Barty could skip the season-ending tournament.
We only just found out it’s in Mexico at 1500 metres (above sea level) and they’re using pressure-less balls. Pressure-less balls absolutely fly. It’s a ball that if you use it in normal conditions, it doesn’t bounce. I mean, it’s not the greatest advertisement for the best girls in the world to be playing something they’ve never done before. In conditions they’ve never played, in a country they don’t play and at altitude, I just feel it’s ridiculous. As a spectacle, it’s just frightening.
Playing the WTA Finals would also negatively affect Barty’s Australian Open preparation. The WTA Finals end on November 15. Upon her comeback to Australia, Barty would need to go through another two-week quarantine, which would ruin her summer.
Contrary to what Tyzzer said, Guadalajara is no stranger to women’s tennis. In March this year, the city hosted a WTA 250 tournament, where Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo clinched the title.