The 2020 season has been like no other in tennis. This year’s Baseline Awards look at the standout performers and moments during an unusual season. (Photos: Getty Images)
It was only a few years ago that Ashleigh Barty accomplished one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the sport. After hitting pause on her career back in 2014—and taking up professional cricket—the young Australian returned to tennis in 2016, finishing in the top 20 a year later. By the end of 2019, she was No. 1 in the world after a season that saw her win her first Grand Slam singles title and the season-ending championships.
To say great things were expected of Barty in 2020 would be an understatement. Her season got off to a fairly strong start as she won the title in Adelaide, the eighth of her career and first on home soil.
Barty made some history going into Melbourne a couple of weeks later as the first Australian woman to be ranked No. 1 at her home Slam. It appeared that she was closing in on her second career Grand Slam singles title, but her run came to an end in the semifinals at the hands of Sofia Kenin. In her next tournament, the Qatar Open, she reached her third semifinal of the year in four tournaments, bringing her overall record to 11-3.
And that’s where it would stand for the rest of 2020.
The tennis season would shut down right before Indian Wells for several months due to the global pandemic. When the tours returned to action in the early summer, Barty took into account her health and that of her team, and decided she wouldn’t be playing during the brief U.S. swing. Soon after, she also announced that she wouldn’t try to defend her title at the French Open and officially put an end to her 2020 campaign.
Barty wasn’t the only player not to return to action or shut down their season early, by any means. When you have the world No. 1 out of the game, though, it’s quite the notable absence.
While she wasn’t on the tennis tour, Barty—the former cricket player—showed she’s a wizard whenever a ball is involved. This time, it was on the golf course as she won a club championship.
More trophies will probably be coming her way in 2021—hopefully, earned on the tennis courts.