Ashleigh Barty, 2019 French Open champion, opts out of tournament due to COVID-19 concerns

Ashleigh Barty will not defend her French Open title. 

The WTA's No. 1-ranked player has opted out of the tournament, which is scheduled to start on Sept. 27.

In the announcement posted to her Instagram account, the 24-year-old from Australia cited the ongoing global pandemic and her lack of proper preparation for her decision to not go to Roland Garros.

"It has been a difficult decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year," Barty wrote. "Last year’s French Open was the most special tournament of my career so this is not a decision I have made lightly.

"I wish the players and the French Federation all the best for a successful tournament."

View this post on Instagram

It has been a difficult decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year. 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.

A post shared by Ash Barty (@ashbarty) on

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In July, Barty withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing travel risks.

In last year's French Open final, Barty defeated Marketa Vondrousova to win her first Grand Slam title.

Ashleigh Barty celebrates during her French Open final win over Marketa Vondrousova. (Photo: Susan Mullane, USA TODAY Sports)

On Monday, French Open organizers said that spectators will be allowed at the tournament. This announcement comes as coronavirus cases are growing in the country.

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