MELBOURNE. — In a sign of tennis’s topsy-turvy 2020, Australia’s Ash Barty will remain the women’s world No. 1 at the end of the year despite having skipped two Grand Slams and not playing a match since February.
World No. 2 Simona Halep’s shock fourth-round drubbing by Polish teenager Iga Swiatek at the French Open on Sunday ensured Barty will head into a second successive season with the top ranking.
Barty, 24, made the Australian Open semifinals in January but skipped the US Open and her French Open title defense citing a lack of preparation.
The Queenslander has been enjoying the downtime at home, though.
As her rivals battled for a spot in the second week at Roland Garros on Friday, Barty was in the terraces at the Gabba, supporting her beloved Richmond Tigers as they fell to the home Brisbane Lions in the first week of the Australian Football League playoffs.
Footage of Barty rising to her feet in the crowd, pumping her fist while cradling a cup of beer on the other hand, went viral on social media in Australia, where fans hailed a “a true icon.”
“Gotta love Ash Barty,” a local football journalist tweeted.
“French Open on and beer in hand at footy. The best.”