World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty to return to action after 11 months

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty will return to competitive tennis after a lengthy hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic when she headlines two WTA tournaments in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, organisers said yesterday.

The 24-year-old Queenslander has not played a match since February, opting not to defend her French Open title and also skipping the US Open in New York due to concerns over Covid-19.

Barty, who held on to the top women's singles ranking during last year's disrupted season, will play for the first time in 11 months at one of two WTA 500 events from Jan 31-Feb 6.

The Australian Open starts on Feb 8, three weeks later than planned. - REUTERS