Ashleigh Barty: ‘It will be great to get back on court’ says World number one after year break

Women’s World number one Ashleigh Barty will join Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Serena Williams in an elite exhibition event this month.

The event, which will take place in Adelaide as a curtain raiser to the Australian Open, will be the first time Australian fans have seen their home-grown champion in almost a year.

Barty hasn’t played competitive tennis since February 2020 when the COVID pandemic struck, putting the tennis season into disarray.

Due to safety concerns, the Australian opted not to defend her French Open title and skipped the U.S. Open amid travel and quarantine restrictions.

However, due to ATP rules which were brought in to protect players rankings through the disruptions, Barty remains World number one in the WTA rankings.

The Adelaide event, dubbed “A Day at the Drive”, will launch Australia’s summer of tennis and take place at the city’s Memorial Drive Tennis Centre on 29 January.

Barty, 24, said:  “I am looking forward to playing my first match for the 2021 season in Adelaide.

“I have fond memories from the Adelaide International last year and it will be great to get back on court here for A Day at the Drive.”

It has also been announced that Jannick Sinner will join Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem in the men’s event.

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