Ashleigh Barty hasn't picked up her racket to be competitive since the Qatar Open three months ago. She'd won the 2019 French Open and Birmingham. The season ending WTA Finals she happily captured as well as the 2020 Adelaide title.
But it was tough to get the title in her homeland of Australia and she lucked out making it to the final round. "Next time" players outwardly say hoping they'd be fortunate enough to go deep at events the next season.
But when the pandemic hit, everyone's vision was blindsighted. Finishing off this 2020 season once looked promising but now murky as many cities, states and countries are still under limited quarantines. Barty has had her time of not being able to get her game together but at last year's 2019 U.S.
Open she had to say that "A few of the things I've been lacking over the last month finally came together." The semifinal at Wuhan gave her self-confidence and then winning the WTA finals was the icing on a hard-fought tournament result.
Now things are up in the air again. Dates for events have been juggled and no one knows how they will literally do performance-wise whenever and if the tour can have events during this year. "..I'm happy to play the tournament (French Open) whever it is scheduled," Barty had said to the Australian Associated Press a few months ago.
Time has lapsed and the French Open previously scheduled for the week after the U.S. Open may be changing dates again. She says that "I hope I get the chance to defend my title in September--any opportunity to compete is something I'll grab with both hands."
Right now despite not playing at all, Barty is on the favorable side of performing and due to the freezing of rankings, she will stay at her No. 1 status at least another three months. Before the tour was severely interrupted, Ashleigh Barty had approached every tournament with certainty and excitement.
A bit of the energy and happiness has fizzled for practicing and playing being that no one knows when the next match will happen. If the U.S. Open is able to be played in New York or California, it will be a huge experiment for Barty and her tennis comrades on how they can bring their game together for success.
A week after the Open hopefully will be the French Open, a chance for her to defend her 2019 title. "Although that level wasn't there today for the whole match necessarily, it was there when I needed it," Barty says about her title win at Roland Garros over Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.
It will be a challenge to see how the WTA No. 1 player can bounce back after more than 4 months without having an injury timeout to come up and be successful as she has in the past.