Ash Barty is quietly plotting her best Australian Open preparation after emerging from two weeks in hard quarantine — not her home as requested.
Barty’s coach Craig Tyzzer was a vocal critic of the decision, describing the move as “farcical”, after the tennis ace departed Australian shores back in March.
“For travellers coming back, if you’re an Australian overseas, they don’t make it easy,” he said.
“You can’t get flights, it’s ridiculously expensive and you’ve got to do two weeks’ quarantine in a hotel where you can’t open windows.”
The coach revealed he and his star charge had both been tested 68 times before Barty headed to the UK for a short holiday last month.
“You get tested basically the same amounts in the tournaments, both players and their teams,” Tyzzer said.
“So we were up to 68 when Ash left for London and I left to come home to Australia.
“It’s part of what we had to put up with this year. It’s not much fun. You know at least everybody around you and in the tournaments are safe and COVID-free so it certainly enables you to operate.
“But to come back and do another couple of weeks (in quarantine) after two tests and finding out you’re negative, it’s a bit ridiculous.”
The world No.1 will decide in the next fortnight whether or not to defend her season-ending championship crown, won in 2019 in China before last year’s event was cancelled because of the global pandemic.
But with Australian players already at a disadvantage if they choose to spend added time back home before their international rivals are welcomed into a biosecurity bubble ahead of the 2022 Open, it’s highly unlikely Barty will contest next month’s rescheduled and relocated WTA Finals in Mexico.
To do so, the Wimbledon champion would have to endure a second fortnight in quarantine upon return to Australia in mid-November, throwing her traditional pre-season into chaos.
“Obviously having the right (Australian Open) lead-up is ideal. Being able to get a pre-season in is massive,” Tyzzer said.
“So obviously the more time we get to work on the things we need to work on and progress in this sport will give us the best opportunity coming into the summer, that’s for sure.”
But while Barty and any compatriots opting to spend an extended period back in Australia must quarantine ahead of their home grand slam, their rivals won’t.
“I know that players won’t come out if they have to quarantine,” Tyzzer said.
“There’s already quite a few who we’ve spoken to who have said if it’s like last year, they’re not coming.
“And I don’t think Tennis Australia have that in their mind either, to operate in that way.
“They’re going to be in a bubble, according to what we’ve heard and what they’ve said they’re going to do.”
With tournament director Craig Tiley still locked in delicate negotiations with the Victorian government little more than three months out from the Open’s scheduled January 17 start date, it’s expected all lead-up tournaments will again be staged at Melbourne Park like this year.
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