Defending champion Barty to skip French Open over virus fears

The Roland Garros complex will be divided into three separate zones

The Roland Garros complex will be divided into three separate zones"independent of one another and corresponding to each of the main showcourts with no crossing in between

The 23-time Grand Slam victor has a history of serious lung problems that put her health at risk during the pandemic.

"It has been a hard decision to make but unfortunately I will not be competing in Europe this year", she wrote.

The Queenslander has been unable to work with her coach Craig Tyzzer recently due to domestic state border closures in Australia.

Barty announced in late July that she would sit out the US Open, now being played in NY, but was still monitoring the situation with the French Open, which is due to start on Sept 27.

Serena Williams has yet to make a concrete decision on competing at this year's French Open, which begins later in September.

Spectators will be allowed at the French Open this month despite the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country, organizers said on Monday.

"Since the global circuit restarted, Roland Garros will be the first tournament with the privilege of hosting an audience", French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli said.

She has indicated she may not play competitively again until 2021.

ICMR new advisory allows 'On-Demand' COVID-19 testing
Testing of all asymptomatic high-risk individuals (people above 65 and those with co-morbidities etc.) in containment zones. It comprises 833 Real-Time RT PCR labs, TrueNat based testing labs are 689 and 121 are CBNAAT based testing labs.

France has recorded almost 31,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. Players will then be tested every five days as long as they remain in the draw, and will have to stay in the two hotels booked by organizers.

She announced in late July that she would sit out the US Open, now underway in NY, with defending men's champion Rafael Nadal and world number two Simona Halep among those who also opted out because of the pandemic. Nadal and Halep are expected to return to the French Open, which was postponed in May during the height of the lockdown. Barty has a big lead, but could be challenged by the likes of Halep.

Barty had a career-best season in 2019, winning the French Open and the year-end WTA Finals, as well as earning titles in Miami and Birmingham.

The fate of Barty's home Grand Slam, the Australian Open in January, is yet to be determined, with the possibility it could be moved out of Melbourne if the city's outbreak has not eased.

"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, " Barty said.

Ash Barty has declared she won't be back to defend her title in Europe, meaning she'll spend the rest of the year in Australia.

"Thank you to my fans for your continued support, I can't wait to play for you again".

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