World No. 1 Barty unsure of schedule as Osaka closes in

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 15, 2021 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in motion throughout her fourth spherical match towards Shelby Rogers of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Australian Ash Barty has supplied no certainty if she’s going to play commonly on the ladies’s tour amid the COVID-19 pandemic regardless of Naomi Osaka closing in on her world primary rating with a fourth Grand Slam title in Melbourne.

Barty accepted a wildcard to defend her Adelaide Worldwide title this week after making an exit on the quarterfinal stage of her dwelling Grand Slam with a defeat to Czech Karolina Muchova.

The Queenslander skipped final yr’s US Open and didn’t defend her 2019 French Open title, opting to not journey as a result of well being issues amid the pandemic.

Barty, who is predicted to move to the Center East subsequent month to play WTA occasions in Doha and Dubai, mentioned she confronted no health points through the Melbourne Park swing regardless of returning to the circuit after 11 months.

“We plan as finest as we are able to,” the 24-year-old instructed reporters in Adelaide on Monday. “Clearly within the present state of affairs nothing’s sure. It’s tough to plan, for sure, however we simply go along with the recommendation that we have now been given.

“After all I might like to be again on tour full-time, and all these selections will come as shut as we are able to to the occasions, but additionally as far out to try to plan a schedule and plan a tour.”

Barty didn’t play for 11 months however has nonetheless held on to her prime spot as the ladies’s governing physique adjusted the WTA rankings because of the pandemic, permitting gamers the flexibility to skip tournaments with out the concern of dropping factors.

In distinction, second-ranked Osaka received final yr’s US Open and the Australian Open on Saturday however nonetheless finds herself greater than 1,300 factors behind the Australian.

“There’s no additional stress. The additional stress is non-existent for me,” Barty mentioned about Osaka’s ascent.

“I can’t management what anybody else does. For the tournaments or with the rankings, that’s out of my management. As for defending factors, I believe that’s a really destructive method to have a look at it.”

The rivalry between Barty and 23-year-old Osaka might be the spotlight characteristic of the tour for the subsequent few years.

“I’ve solely performed her a pair instances. We haven’t performed so much,” Barty mentioned, including she had not watched Saturday’s last between Osaka and American Jennifer Brady.

“So hopefully it’s a possibility for me to play towards her in some massive moments in massive tournaments. That’s what we dream of … making an attempt to place your self in place to win massive titles.

“So perhaps it should occur sooner or later however in the intervening time that’s not what I’m pressured about.”

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