Ashleigh Barty: 'I will defend Roland Garros crown whenever they schedule it'

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Ashleigh Barty: 'I will defend Roland Garros crown whenever they schedule it'

The coronavirus pandemic has been the dominant factor in the world of tennis (and in general) in the first three months of 2020, canceling Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000 events and all the action on clay in April, May and the first week of June.

With no chances for hosting Roland Garros at the end of May, the organizers of the only clay Major in the calendar have pushed the date to September 20, just a week after the finish of the US Open! Eager to grab that spot as soon as possible before the other events, Roland Garros organizers didn't speak with the ITF, ATP, other Majors or players themselves, challenging them to compete at two Majors within five weeks, on different continents and surfaces.

As was expected, many players and tournaments were not happy with this decision but they can't do much about it now, hoping everything will be fine in a couple of months so they can at least get a chance to play the most significant events in the calendar.

The reigning Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty is ready to defend the crown despite an unfortunate schedule, saying she will be happy to compete in Paris at any time of the year. Barty didn't speak with Guy Forget about the changes in the schedule as Rafael Nadal had but she has confirmed her participation in what should be the last Major of the season for the first time in history.

"I hope I get the chance to defend my title in September; any opportunity to compete is something I'll grab with both hands," Barty said. "There are more important things going on in the world right now, though, and I will do whatever helps to keep us all safe and healthy. No, I haven't spoken to Guy Forget but I'm happy to play the tournament whenever it is scheduled."