The World No. 1 men’s tennis player, Novak Djokovic, will not play Indian Wells. Neither will Ashleigh Barty, the women’s World No. 1 player. How many times can one say that neither No. 1 will pay a visit to the Southern California desert? It’s a strange time for a tournament which is being played at a different point on the calendar.
Indian Wells is usually staged in March, but the disruptions and uncertainties created by the pandemic forced the tournament to move to October this year. It’s not the right time or place for Barty, for one very obvious reason: She has been living away from home for several months.
Barty lived out of a suitcase from March through the U.S. Open in early September. Continent to continent, city to city, tournament to tournament, Barty lived on the road (and in planes and hotels) from Miami to New York and various places in between. She picked up multiple injuries in the clay season — in both Rome and in Paris at Roland Garros — but fought off those injuries to win Wimbledon, which has always been the ultimate goal and supreme dream of her career since she began to play tennis. She won the same Wimbledon title another indigenous Australian, Evonne Goolagong, first won 50 years earlier, in 1971.
Barty made several significant finals this year, winning championships not only at Wimbledon, but also in Miami and Cincinnati. She very clearly established herself as the best women’s player in the world. She surpassed Naomi Osaka, who has had a difficult time coping with the stress of life on tour in the media spotlight since winning the Australian Open back in February.
Barty hasn’t yet decided on whether she will compete in the season-ending WTA Finals, which will follow Indian Wells on the tour calendar. Given that she has finally returned to Australia to see her family, after several months away from home, it is very possible she won’t contest the WTA Finals. In a normal year, of course Barty would attend that tournament, but this is still not a normal year, as the October staging of Indian Wells underscores.
Barty has done so much heavy lifting this year. Now that she is finally home again, it makes sense for her to decompress, rediscover the joys of relaxation, and make sure she is a refreshed and fine-tuned player for the championship which would make her career even more substantial and complete: the 2022 Australian Open in January. No Australian woman has won the Australian Open singles championship since 1978, a time when a lot of top tour pros didn’t travel down to Australia to compete in the tournament. Barty would claim a special title not only for herself, but for her country.
Playing the WTA Finals — and playing Indian Wells — would get in the way of that goal.
Not playing Indian Wells is the sensible choice for Ash Barty.
If you want to make the sensible choice in sports betting, there are easy ways to make your experience more fun and enjoyable.