Heartbreaking reality behind Ash Barty's Miami Open triumph

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Ash Barty, pictured here after winning the Miami Open title.
Ash Barty may not see her loved ones until the end of the year. Image: Getty/AAP

The joy of Ash Barty's Miami Open triumph came with a tinge of sadness as the Australian tennis star was forced to celebrate thousands of kilometres away from her loved ones.

Barty reminded everyone why she's the best in the world with a brilliant victory over Bianca Andreescu to lift the Miami Open title in her first tournament outside Australia for over a year.

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The World No.1, who spent last year out of competitive action back home during the pandemic, demonstrated her readiness for global tennis domination again with a superb all-court display to outplay the 2019 US Open champion.

Barty was over the moon after defending her title, however the celebrations came with some sadness that she might not see her family again until the end of the year.

Barty made the heartbreaking revelation early in the tournament that she was in tears when she left Australia because she may not be able to return home until the end of the 2021 season.

The World No.1 said the COVID-19 hotel quarantine requirements in Australia make scheduling a journey home during the season very difficult.

"Obviously with the quarantine laws in Australia, we do our two weeks' quarantine in a hotel, and there is actually not a lot of space in the season to be able to do that just to get home," she said.

"So at this stage we're planning to be away until after the US Open (in September) and potentially right to the end of season."

Barty's boyfriend Garry Kissick is back home in Queensland, posting a photo of the couple's dogs enjoying an Easter treat over the weekend.

The professional golfer has his own career to think about and is unable to travel with Barty for extended periods.

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While Barty is no stranger to long periods away from home, she admitted settling into a stretch that could last until November is taking some getting used to.

"Without a doubt it was something that was new to me, new to try and wrap my head around and comprehend," Barty said.

"Of course there were tears the days leading up. There were tears when I did finally leave, and then when we left.

"Then we were delayed and had to leave again. It was all kind of happening."

Ash Barty, pictured here with the ball kids after winning the Miami Open.
Ash Barty poses with the ball kids after winning the Miami Open. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Ash Barty to ease into clay-court season

Speaking on Tuesday, Barty said she is pleased with how her body coped with the tough conditions in Miami but is being careful not to rush things as she transitions to the clay season in Charleston this week.

"My body feels great," top seed Barty told reporters on Monday at the WTA 500 event in Charleston. 

"We've done a lot of work over the preseason to make sure that my body could hold up and withstand a lot of matches and I felt like we were able to do that in Miami.

"It's really nice to be here now and kind of have a fresh start. It's a fresh surface, it's a very quick shift for me, changing surfaces ... it will be exciting. It'll be a quick transition, but one that I look forward to."

The 2019 French Open champion, who turns 25 this month, has a first-round bye and will open her clay-court season against Japan's Misaki Doi.

"I find that green clay is almost a middle man between hard courts and European red clay," said Barty. 

"Sometimes the green clay is a little bit quicker. You can typically move on it like a hard court if you wish, or you can go straight into sliding a little bit and moving like on a traditional clay court.

"So we'll have to be patient this week and not feel like we're rushing into trying to feel like we're playing our best clay-court tennis straight away. It's important to let the body adjust."

with AAP

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