World No. 1 Ash Barty plans to return to playing a regular schedule, having taken off most of 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. The 25-year-old Australian is into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and won a warmup event on the grounds the week before, but has not competed elsewhere for more than a year.
But that looks like it is about to change—Barty plans to play three WTA events that follow the Australian Open.
"We've entered Doha, Dubai and Miami," her coach, Craig Tyzzer told press in Melbourne.
She is also likely to stay on tour for most of the season rather than coming back to Australia, where two weeks of quarantine are required to enter the country.
"Because of the quarantine arrangements here, we won't come back for a while," said Tyzzer. "We'll be away for a while if we go. We're hoping that we'll set up some sort of base somewhere probably in Europe where we can at least switch off and relax and spend some time away from tennis, maybe a bit of golf for Ash."
While some players have found it difficult to compete with no fans in the stands at events—including partway through the Australian Open,— he does not expect it to bother Barty, saying, "I think she enjoys the Aussie crowd behind her. She's also good at going, 'Ok, I have to focus on what's going on on the court.'"
And despite her long layoff, Tyzzer says Barty is already in good form, winning eight straight matches to start her season.
"A lot of players haven't played much tennis, some have played some," he said. "But to be where we're at is fantastic, to keep playing in a Grand Slam, it's always difficult to win matches."
Even though she has hardly played, Barty has stayed No.1 in the adjusted WTA rankings system, where players are allowed to count points from either this season or the previous season.
Barty will play Karolina Muchova in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.