Pro tennis returns in Australia next week, but the world No. 1 will practice instead.
Pro tennis resumes Down Under next week with a notable absence.
World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty will take a pass when the UTR Pro Tennis Series makes stops in five Australian cities.
The reigning Roland Garros champion will hit the practice court while the UTR Pro Series is contested amid what organizers say are "strict biosecurity protocols."
"At this stage I won't be taking part in the UTR Pro Series as my team and I continue to focus on my training," Barty said in a statement. "It's great there is an opportunity for Aussies to get back out there and I wish all the competing players the best for the event."
The UTR Pro Tennis Series will feature stops in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, starting in Sydney on Saturday, June 27th, with Brisbane and Melbourne competitions getting underway on Monday, June 29th.
“With so much of the tennis season still uncertain, our aim through the UTR Pro Tennis Series is to give as many of our athletes the chance to compete and, importantly, also earn prize money, after months of not being able to make their living playing the sport they have devoted their lives to,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.
“Our team has put an enormous amount of time and effort into the planning of these events, and have worked closely with the authorities and tennis staff around the country on the ground to ensure they are run according to strict local biosecurity protocols.”
Organizers say the first phase of the UTR Pro Tennis Series will run until August, with the possibility of extending further depending on the resumption of the global ATP and WTA Tours.
Among the security protocol in place:
- Players will bring their own towels to court
- On-court personnel will be limited with no ball kids, a chair umpire and minimal lines crew
- Physical distancing rules are in place according to governmental guidelines.
Players will enter using their Universal Tennis Rating (UTR), giving them an opportunity to compete locally and have their results count globally via the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) system.
Participating players and updates on the full calendar, including wheelchair exhibition events, will be announced in the coming days.
Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve