Tennis news 2021: Ash Barty camp slams ‘ridiculous’ WTA Finals twist







Ash Barty’s camp has hit out at a “frightening” change to the tennis season that may see her miss out on a multimillion-dollar payday.

World No. 1 Ash Barty might not defend her title at the season-ending WTA Finals in Mexico because of the “ridiculous” playing conditions at the venue and the timing of the tournament, her coach Craig Tyzzer said.

The WTA Finals, contested by the world’s top eight singles players and eight doubles teams, were moved to Guadalajara from Shenzhen in China this week due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will begin on November 8.

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Tyzzer said Barty, who won the 2019 WTA Finals before the 2020 edition was cancelled, might also compromise her 2022 Australian Open preparation if she plays in Mexico as she would have to undergo two weeks of home quarantine on her return to Australia.

The 2019 edition of the WTA Finals had a prizemoney pool of $19 million and is the richest event on the WTA calendar. Barty pocketed a cool $6.4 million for winning two years ago — the biggest cheque in tennis history for men or women.

“We only just found out it’s in Mexico at 1500 metres (above sea level) and they’re using pressure-less balls,” Tyzzer told AAP on Wednesday.

“Pressure-less balls absolutely fly. It’s a ball that, if you use it in normal conditions, it doesn’t bounce. 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.”

Barty, who suffered a third-round exit at this month’s US Open, is “physically and mentally exhausted”, said Tyzzer.

“Indian Wells (next month) is still on the radar but she just needs a rest,” he added. “So I told her to just get away and have a holiday.

“It certainly isn’t easy for us to get there and to play that event in Mexico and then to come back and have to do two (more) weeks (in quarantine) and then your summer is sort of ruined as well.

“It’s a decision we’ll have to sit and mull over quite a bit.

“We were originally told it was Hong Kong and then we were told it was Prague and all of a sudden we hear it’s in Mexico.

“It’s almost like it’s a last-gasp. It doesn’t strike me as they’re really trying to promote the best girls in the world for the top eight as a showcase, to put it where it’s at.”

Barty has been on the road since leaving Australia in March and will no doubt look forward to coming home when she can.

She won Wimbledon in July but suffered a surprise loss to American Shelby Rogers at Flushing Meadows to end her hopes of capturing another grand slam title this year.

“It’s disappointing. A tough one to swallow,” Barty said after the match. “It sucks in tennis that there’s a winner and loser every single day.

“You can’t win every single tennis match that you play.

“I’m proud of myself and my team for all the efforts we’ve put in the last six months. It’s been pretty incredible. I don’t think we could have asked for much more honestly. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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