Ash Barty's long-awaited tennis return after her Australian Open win has been thrown into further chaos after her planned participation at her Aussie team event was scrapped.
In a big tennis announcement, the Aussie women earned a Billie Jean King Cup promotion following the ITF decision to ban last year's winners Russia from teams competitions.
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As the highest-ranked team among the 2021 losing semi-finalists, Australia will take Russia's place in the Finals scheduled to be held in November.
While this is good news for Australia, Barty's long-awaited return to tennis after her historic Australian Open title appears to have been impacted.
Most recently, Barty withdrew from both Indian Wells and the Miami Open after she declared her body wasn't ready after the start to 2022.
Leading tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg pointed out as it stands with the update, Barty currently has no event pencilled in for her mid-April return.
This could see Barty return at Stuttgart, which would see her defend her crown won in 2021.
However, this would mean she wouldn't have played a competitive WTA Tour match since the Australian Open final on January 29.
Barty was also a finalist at the Madrid Open, Aryna Sabalenka defeated her in the final, which would see her have to defend another large haul of points as World No.1.
ITF has announced replacements/dominos for the defending champion Russian teams which were removed from this year's Davis Cup and BJK Cup.
Notably, the obviation of the Slovakia-at-Australia tie in April means that #1 Ash Barty's intended comeback event is now off the calendar. pic.twitter.com/Uk3UaF7qTZ
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 14, 2022
on a side note, with Slovakia and Australia directly to the BJK Cup Finals Ash Barty won't have to play the tie in mid-April.
At this point she might be back on tour in Stuttgart (?) where she won the title in 2021, right before the 1000 event in Madrid. https://t.co/EIv4jCBQDA
— Diego Barbiani (@Diego_Barbiani) March 14, 2022
Australia were due to compete in the Billie Jean King Cup qualifier against Slovakia next month but the tie has been called off.
Australia, Slovakia and Belgium will join 2021 runners-up Switzerland at the 2022 Finals alongside the winning nations from the remaining seven qualifiers in April.
A host nation hasn't been decided.
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Barty's rivals are expected to close the distance in the rankings due to Barty's absence at both Indian Wells and the Miami Open.
Barty does have close to a 3000 point gap as World No.1, but her ranking will be affected after missing the two WTA events.
Aryna Sabalenka suffered a shock Round of 64 loss at Indian Wells, which won't help her cause.
While, Iga Swiatek has made it to the Round of 16 at Indian Wells.
One advantage Barty has is Roland Garros.
Barty withdrew from the 2021 grand slam in the early rounds due to injury.
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