Martina Navratilova comments on Ashleigh Barty's absence from Indian Wells

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Martina Navratilova comments on Ashleigh Barty's absence from Indian Wells

Former world No. 1 Martina Navratilova acknowledges there is always an effect when the No. 1 player is skipping an event but adds she doesn't think Ashleigh Barty's absence from the Indian Wells Masters changes much. Last week, Barty announced she doesn't feel she is where she needs to be in order to challenge for the Indian Wells and Miami titles.

Navratilova thinks Indian Wells would be "pretty wide open" even with Barty in the tournament. "There’s always an effect when the No.1 doesn’t play, of course. She’s the two-time defending champion in Miami and plays well this time of year.

As far as what it does for the rest of the field? It’s been pretty wide open lately. She’s been No.1 but other players have showed dominance on the court as well," Navratilova told the WTA Tour. "So, it does open it up a little bit.

There are probably 10 players who think they have a chance to win the tournament, with or without her. It’s possible. Most tournaments have been pretty wide open, so at the end of the day, I don’t think it changes that much overall."

Navratilova: Don't rule out Aryna Sabalenka

World No.

3 Sabalenka has had a rough start to the year as she is just 6-5 on the year. Sabalenka has been struggling with her game and consistency and she isn't really considered among top favorites for the Indian Wells title. However, Navratilova warned fans not to sleep on Sabalenka.

"Hey, don’t forget Aryna Sabalenka. She’s got a lot to prove. The serve takes a while to fix. I need to be convinced that she’s fixed that. I think Badosa has a good shot to defend her title and I think you have to look at the Americans.

Keys, Anisimova have an excellent shot. No pressure on them – everything would be a bonus – and as big hitters, the court will suit them. And the crowd should be helpful as well," Navratilova noted.

Martina Navratilova Ashleigh Barty Indian Wells