Fans question Ash Barty comeback after unlikely twist

Ash Barty’s (pictured) expected return date to tennis after her Australian Open title has been scrapped due to the ITF promoting Australia in the Billie Jean King Cup. (Getty Images)

Ash Barty’s long-awaited tennis return after the Australian Open win has been thrown into further chaos after her planned participation at her Aussie team event was scrapped.

In a big tennis announcement, the Aussie women earned a Billie Jean King Cup promotion following the ITF decision to ban last year’s winners Russia from teams competitions.

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As the highest-ranked team among the 2021 losing semi-finalists, Australia will take Russia’s place in the Finals scheduled to be held in November.

While this is good news for Australia, Barty’s long-awaited return to tennis after her historic Australian Open title appears to have been impacted.

Most recently, Barty withdrew from both Indian Wells and the Miami Open after she declared her body wasn’t ready after the start to 2022.

Leading tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg pointed out as it stands with the update, Barty currently has no event pencilled in for her mid-April return.

This could see Barty return at Stuttgart, which would see her defend her crown won in 2021.

However, this would mean she wouldn’t have played a competitive WTA Tour match since the Australian Open final on January 29.

Barty was also a finalist at the Madrid Open, Aryna Sabalenka defeated her in the final, which would see her have to defend another large haul of points as World No.1.

Australia were due to compete in the Billie Jean King Cup qualifier against Slovakia next month but the tie has been called off.

Australia, Slovakia and Belgium will join 2021 runners-up Switzerland at the 2022 Finals alongside the winning nations from the remaining seven qualifiers in April.

A host nation hasn’t been decided.

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Barty’s rivals are expected to close the distance in the rankings due to Barty’s absence at both Indian Wells and the Miami Open.

Barty does have close to a 3000 point gap as World No.1, but her ranking will be affected after missing the two WTA events.

Aryna Sabalenka suffered a shock Round of 64 loss at Indian Wells, which won’t help her cause.

Ash Barty (pictured) smiles and looks holding the Australian Open trophy.

Ash Barty (pictured) looks up after winning the Australian Open title in 2022. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

While, Iga Swiatek has made it to the Round of 16 at Indian Wells.

One advantage Barty has is Roland Garros.

Barty withdrew from the 2021 grand slam in the early rounds due to injury.

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