World number one Ash Barty has been granted a late wildcard to the Adelaide International, after her shock loss in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
- Barty is the defending champion at the WTA event
- She and other players have been granted exemptions from travel restrictions
- The six-day tournament begins at Memorial Drive on Monday
Barty is the defending champion at the Adelaide WTA event, which begins on Monday.
In a statement on the tournament’s website, Barty said she felt “grateful to get another week playing in front of Australian fans”.
“I am looking forward to coming back to Adelaide and having the opportunity to defend my title,” Barty said.
The top-ranked women’s tennis player bowed out of the Australian Open on Wednesday, losing her quarter-final to Karolína Muchová in three sets.
Barty was recently in Adelaide for the Day at the Drive exhibition event at the Memorial Drive tennis complex.
South Australia reopened its border to regional Victoria during the week, but still has restrictions on arrivals from Greater Melbourne.
But Barty is among more than 300 players and support crew who have been granted exemptions, allowing them to take part in the tournament.
“Players have been tested so much and they’ve been in lockdown for five days as well … so we’re comfortable, certainly, with the discussions we’ve had with SA Health in regards to delivering this event,” tournament director Alistair MacDonald said on Wednesday.
SA Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Emily Kirkpatrick, said restrictions would still apply.
“Allowing them to walk across to the training area — they’ll need to be wearing a mask when they’re undertaking that as well, and making sure they have no contact with the public,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.
MacDonald said he was “thrilled to welcome” Barty back to Memorial Drive.
SA Premier Steven Marshall also welcomed news of the world number one’s return.
“Ash has had great success here at Memorial Drive over the last couple of years and we’ll welcome her with open arms, and cheer her on from the first serve,” he said.
The six-day tournament runs from Monday to Saturday.
Several other top 20 players are on the tournament’s line-up, including Canada’s Bianca Andreescu and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic.