No. 1 Ash Barty has set off a COVID controversy after getting caught in a Melbourne supermarket without the required mask.

The Australian who will fill out the field at the upcoming Adelaide exhibition populated by the top-ranked men’s and women’s players, has been in her home country for nearly a year.

As the 24-year-old does not need to undergo quarantine like all foreign players who arrived a week or so ago, she is free to move around as she wishes.

She last competed at last year’s Open, where she lost a semi-final to Petra Kvitova.

Sky News reported that Barty was caught in a Melbourne supermarket minus the mask required of all shoppers.

Her management quickly jumped on the breah, calling it an “innocent mistake.”

Barty added to the Herald-Sun: “We are so lucky in Australia to have a home Grand Slam; the support of the Australian fans means the world to me and I always want to do well here.

“I understand this year will be different in many respects but I hope I can do the local fans proud.

“The circumstances around this year’s event are definitely challenging and I understand the frustration of all the players who have had to quarantine, but keeping Melburnians safe and making sure we put health first has to be the ­priority.”

Barty is due in Adelaide next week for the weekend men’s and women’s exhibition, a quid pro quo from South Australia to Victoria for taking some of the tennis quarantine overflow 


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