SYDNEY   -   Reigning champion Ash Barty will not play at the French Open later this month because of health concerns and a lack of preparation, the world number one said on Tuesday. Barty has not played a tournament match since February and also skipped the ongoing U.S. Open over health concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 24-year-old Australian, who beat Marketa Vondrousova in the 2019 final at Roland Garros to win her first Grand Slam title, said she would not be playing at all in Europe this year. “Last year’s French Open was the most special tournament of my career so this is not a decision I have made lightly,” Barty said in a statement on Instagram. “There are two reasons for my decision. The first is the health risks that still exist with COVID. The second is my preparation, which has not been ideal without my coach being able to train with me due to the state border closures in Australia.”