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Ash Barty has returned home to Australia in the clearest indication yet that her tennis season is over.
The World No.1 dropped somewhat of a bombshell this week when she withdrew from the prestigious Indian Wells event, due to start next week in California.
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The stunning withdrawal cast major doubts about the remainder of Barty's 2021 season, despite the WTA Finals scheduled to take place in November in Mexico.
Barty is the defending champion at the WTA Finals, but coach Craig Tyzzer recently expressed his doubts that they would play the event.
On Thursday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Barty has now returned home to Australia and is very unlikely to head back overseas this year.
“Ash has withdrawn from Indian Wells to come home and see her family in Australia,” Barty’s manager Nikki Mathias told the publication.
“She has been away from home since March and with the two week hotel quarantine requirement to come into Australia it has not been possible for her to return home before now.
“No further decisions have been made on events after Indian Wells yet.”
Earlier this year, Barty opened up on her heartache at having to be away from her family for so long.
She hasn't been home since March when she made a tearful farewell and jetted overseas for a worldwide tour that encompassed the French Open, Wimbledon, Tokyo Olympics and US Open.
"It was all new to me, new to try and wrap my head around and comprehend where we're going to be away for such an extended period," Barty told AAP.
"Of course, there were tears in the days leading up. And when I did finally leave."
Ash Barty highly unlikely to play WTA Finals
Earlier this month, Tyzzer indicated it was highly unlikely that Barty would play the WTA Finals due to "ridiculous" conditions in Mexico.
"We only just found out it's in Mexico at 1500 metres (above sea level) and they're using pressure-less balls," Tyzzer told AAP about the $14 million event.
"Pressure-less balls absolutely fly. It's a ball that if you use it in normal conditions, it doesn't bounce.
"In conditions they've never played, in a country they don't play and at altitude, I just feel it's ridiculous. As a spectacle, it's just frightening."
Tyzzer said Barty's priority is to get her body right for the Australian Open in January.
"She needs to get home, she's a super homebody," Tyzzer said.
"She just needs a rest. She was physically and mentally exhausted. So I told her to just get away and have a holiday and just refresh everything.
"It certainly isn't easy for us to get there and to play that event in Mexico and then to come back and have to do two (more) weeks (in quarantine) and then your summer is sort of ruined as well."
Barty has endured a gruelling but phenomenal year.
The 25-year-old has won five titles, including her second grand slam crown at Wimbledon, cementing her place atop the world rankings.
She hasn't played since a shock loss in the third round at the US Open last month.
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