Ash Barty's back and she's got some big plans
World No.1 Ash Barty is confident of playing in a "safe environment" when she returns to the WTA Tour next week.
The Queenslander will leave this week for the United States to defend her Miami Open crown.
The tournament was not played last year due to COVID-19, with Barty having won the title in 2019, beating Karolína Plíšková 7-6 6-3 in the final.
Barty remained at home for the majority of last year, electing to miss the French and US Opens.
However, she contested the recent Australian Open and Adelaide International tournaments, and is now ready to return overseas for an indefinite period.
"You weigh up the risk v reward, (and) what you're willing to accept," Barty told Channel Nine.
"I feel like now we're in a comfortable position knowing that the tour's doing the right thing.
"We're going to be in a safe environment."
But if the 24-year-old Ipswich product fears for her safety at any time, she won't hesitate returning to Australia.
"I'll be on the first flight home," she said.
"It's about making sure we prioritise our health."
Barty is top seed in a hot Miami field that includes Pliskova, Serena Williams, Simona Halep and reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.
"I'm looking forward to competing again," said Barty, who was beaten in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open before being a shock second-round loser to Danielle Collins in Adelaide, where she struggled with injury.
"I'm excited to get back out there and test myself against the best."
Originally published as Barty back and with big plans