WTA adds 2 tours in 2021; No. 1 Barty among players to get vaccine



The logo of WTA. /CFP

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has added tournaments in Italy and Germany in its 2021 calendar.

The Emilia Romagna Open will be staged in Parma, northern Italy, starting from May 17, including singles and doubles draws, to May 29.

The outdoor event Hamburg European Open in Germany will be held between July 10 and 18, which coincides with the second week of Wimbledon.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia returns a shot during the WTA event Volvo Car Open in Charleston, U.S., April 9, 2021. /CFP

Women's tennis No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, who turns 25 on Saturday, recently said she was one of several players given access to a COVID-19 vaccine during the WTA event Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina, the United States, earlier this month.

According to Barty, she and her Australian coach Craig Tyzzer were among those who took advantage of the WTA's offer. But Barty added she made sure they were not "jumping the queue."

"We were looking at different avenues to try and get vaccinated without jumping the queue in Australia to see what our options were, and we weren't able to get much of an answer before we left in March," she told reporters at a tournament in Stuttgart.

"We were able to get the vaccine, as were a lot of other players, through the Tour and that they had organized through a certain pharmacy that had extras, and that was important to me knowing that those who were the most vulnerable were able to get it first."

Ashleigh Barty of Australia serves during the WTA event Stuttgart Open in Stuttgart, Germany, April 21, 2021. /CFP

Barty spent the last year back home in Australia, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Miami Open was her first tournament abroad since February 2020.

"It was nice to know that we have got that small layer of protection," Barty said, adding that she had experienced a few side effects from the vaccine.

"We still do the right things and abide by all the rules and the guidelines set in place by the Tour, but knowing that we had that little bit of extra protection puts us at ease a bit more."

(With input from agencies)