Scorned rival lashes out at Barty call
Aryna Sabalenka returned to the WTA's top 10 at the expense of Serena Williams while Ash Barty remains on top of the rankings - a decision which hasn't pleased everyone.
Barty has not played since the Qatar Open in February, opting out of tournaments because of COVID-19 and choosing to stay in Australia, but she had enough points in the bank to ensure she ended the season as the world No. 1.
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The Aussie tennis star is nearly 1500 points clear of Romania's Simona Halep in second, followed by reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka in third.
Coronavirus caused havoc with all sports in 2020, tennis included. As tournaments were cancelled and postponed, the WTA announced in June it would be changing the system used to calculate its rankings.
Rather than its usual rolling 52-week window, the WTA revealed it would instead rely on a player's best 16 results in tournaments since March 2019 to determine where they sit. The governing body did not want coronavirus to unfairly affect a player's standing, so adopted the "frozen rankings" system.
That has allowed Barty, last year's French Open champion and winner of the 2019 WTA Finals, to retain her No. 1 spot even though he hasn't competed in nine months.
Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, who has been playing steadily since returning to the court at the Western and Southern Open in New York in August, hit out at the WTA for allowing Barty to keep her No. 1 crown.
Responding to an announcement of the rankings on Twitter, Cornet wrote: "Really @WTA?!? Big fan of Ash but come on …"
Cornet might not be happy about it but under the revised rules, Barty - who enjoyed a stellar 2019 and impressive start to 2020 before the pandemic - is the clear world No. 1.
"I don't get the outrage here," tennis writer Tumaini Carayol tweeted. "We're in the middle of a pandemic and the ranking system was rightfully changed to accommodate that.
"Barty ending the year as #1 isn't representative of this year's results but there isn't much else to be done. It's not that important."
World No. 53 Cornet made the fourth round of the US Open in September, the second round of a tournament in France later that month and most recently lost in the second round of the French Open.
Many players have been happy to hit the court after an extended break this year but Barty has been spending time with her family.
Meanwhile, Sabalenka is back in the top 10 after the Belarusian captured her eighth career title in Linz at the weekend. The 22-year-old finished the season in style with a straight-sets victory over doubles partner Elise Mertens in the final in Austria.
Sabalenka traded places with Williams, who dropped one spot to 11th and hasn't played since pulling out of the French Open with an Achilles injury.
Belgian Mertens moved up one place to 20th, climbing above last year's Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova.
WTA TOP 10
1. Ashleigh Barty (AUS) - 8717 points
2. Simona Halep (ROU) - 7255
3. Naomi Osaka (JPN) - 5780
4. Sofia Kenin (USA) - 5760
5. Elina Svitolina (UKR) - 5260
6. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) - 5205
7. Bianca Andreescu (CAN) - 4555
8. Petra Kvitova (CZE) - 4516
9. Kiki Bertens (NED) - 4505
10. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) - 4220
Originally published as Scorned rival lashes out at Barty call