Holder Ash Barty needed nearly two days thanks to a pair of flight cancellations to travel from Brisbane to Florida to front up for Tuesday’s start of the Miami Masters.

While the world No. 1 and top seed will not begin until the second round, rest will be the priority after 45 hours of travel.

The winner of the last edition held here in 2019 said the voyage was not as easy as it should have been.

“It was supposed to be Brisbane-Sydney-LA and Miami,” she said. “But we had a flight cancellation out of Australia and another in Los Angeles.

“It’s a big adjustment to travel again,” said the player who has not left her locked-down home country for more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread last March and the WTA shut down for five months.

“I’m looking forward to feeling good again in a few days and hopefully will be ready to go. Coming here again is new for all of us.”

The Queenslander holds fond memories of her 2019 title win here over Karolina Pliskova.

“This week a couple of years ago was one of the best of my career,” added the former Roland Garros champion. “I hope to get stuck into the tournament again.”

But after more than a year at home, Barty admitted that leaving COVID-free yet  closed-off Australia marked a big step in her pandemic experience.

“It felt bizarre leaving Australia, but I’m extremely excited to play again. It was not the easiest trip getting here but I’m back competing and doing what I love.

“It’s all an adventure, a new experience. Leaving was hard and emotional.”

Barty said that she and her coaching team are preparing for a long time away, given the two-week quarantine imposed on anyone returning to Australia – a trip in itself which requires special permission even for citizens.

“We plan to play a whole season,” she said of the WTA campaign which can stretch to early November.

“I hope all goes well in the rest of the world and I hope we can play safely.

“But we cannot pan too far ahead, things can change quickly.


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