World number one Ashleigh Barty announced Tuesday she will not defend her French Open crown, citing the coronavirus fears that also prompted her and several other top players to withdraw from the US Open. The Australian, who claimed her maiden Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2019, said it was a “difficult” decision but the health of her family and team came first. “Last year’s French Open was the most special tournament of my career so this is not a decision I have made lightly,” she said on social media.

“There are two reasons for my decision — the first is the health risks that still exist with Covid.

“The second is my preparation, which has not been ideal without my coach being able to train with me due to the state border closures in Australia.”

Barty…

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