Ash Barty plots Australian Open path after quarantine

Ash Barty is seen here during a match at the 2021 US Open Tennis Championships.
Ash Barty has just come out of two weeks hard quarantine after her recent return from overseas. Pic: Getty

Ash Barty is quietly plotting her best Australian Open preparation after emerging from two weeks in hard quarantine.

The world No.1 will decide in the next fortnight whether or not to defend her season-ending championship crown, won in 2019 in China before last year's event was cancelled because of the global pandemic.

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But with Australian players already at a disadvantage if they choose to spend added time back home before their international rivals are welcomed into a biosecurity bubble ahead of the 2022 Open, it's highly unlikely Barty will contest next month's rescheduled and relocated WTA Finals in Mexico.

To do so, the Wimbledon champion would have to endure a second fortnight in quarantine upon return to Australia in mid-November, throwing her traditional pre-season into chaos.

"Obviously having the right (Australian Open) lead-up is ideal. Being able to get a pre-season in is massive," Barty's coach Craig Tyzzer told AAP.

"So obviously the more time we get to work on the things we need to work on and progress in this sport will give us the best opportunity coming into the summer, that's for sure."

It's understood Barty applied for a home quarantine period but was denied, despite returning some 70 negative COVID-19 tests throughout the year.

Tyzzer said it was "farcical" to have to endure such a lengthy quarantine stay in a hotel.

Pictured here, Ash Barty in action at the 2021 US Open.
Ash Barty this week withdrew from the upcoming Billie Jean King Cup teams tournament.

"For travellers coming back, if you're an Australian overseas, they don't make it easy," he said.

"You can't get flights, it's ridiculously expensive and you've got to do two weeks' quarantine in a hotel where you can't open windows."

The coach revealed he and his star charge had both been tested 68 times before Barty headed to the UK for a short holiday last month.

"You get tested basically the same amounts in the tournaments, both players and their teams," Tyzzer said.

"So we were up to 68 when Ash left for London and I left to come home to Australia.

"It's part of what we had to put up with this year. It's not much fun. You know at least everybody around you and in the tournaments are safe and COVID-free so it certainly enables you to operate.

"But to come back and do another couple of weeks (in quarantine) after two tests and finding out you're negative, it's a bit ridiculous."

Ash Barty has undergone dozens of Covid-19 tests

But while Barty and any compatriots opting to spend an extended period back in Australia must quarantine ahead of their home grand slam, their rivals won't.

"I know that players won't come out if they have to quarantine," Tyzzer said.

"There's already quite a few who we've spoken to who have said if it's like last year, they're not coming.

"And I don't think Tennis Australia have that in their mind either, to operate in that way.

"They're going to be in a bubble, according to what we've heard and what they've said they're going to do."

With tournament director Craig Tiley still locked in delicate negotiations with the Victorian government little more than three months out from the Open's scheduled January 17 start date, it's expected all lead-up tournaments will again be staged at Melbourne Park like this year.

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