World No.1 Ash Barty has spoken with rising star Olivia Gadecki about her decision not to get vaccinated for the Australian Open but won’t try to change her mind.
Gadecki’s call not to be inoculated against Covid-19 means she is unable to play any of the Australian tournaments in January and her immediate playing options beyond that are uncertain.
The 19-year-old, who was in Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup squad, would have been a strong contender for an Australian Open wildcard, after starting the year unranked and climbing to No.237.
Barty has served as a mentor and friend to her fellow Queenslander, who the dual grand slam champion describes as “an extreme talent” who is going to have “a very successful career”.
They haven’t caught up in person since both returned home from months on the tour but have discussed the situation.
“I’ve spoken to her a little bit, but she’s an adult and she has her own career and she makes her own decisions,” Barty said.
“That’s something I’ve said to her a lot of the time. For me, I’ve grown up and made my own decisions that I’m accountable for and she‘s done the exact same thing.
“So I’m not in a position where I’m going to try and sway her or do anything, in a sense, to change her mind.
“I’m here as a friend, to support her and love her and whenever I see Liv, I try and catch up with her and we chat through everything, not just tennis.”
Gadecki would have been in line for a minimum payday of $90,000 if she received a main draw singles wildcard – but Barty warned against linking her decision with money.
“Life is not all about money. In fact, that’s very low down on anyone’s priority list,” she said.
“So I think for Liv it’s time for her to reconnect with her family and the ones that she loved the most.
“It’s the decision that she’s made. I continue to chat to her and my opinion of her changes not at all.
“I’m proud that she’s made her decision for her reasons – for her right reasons – and that’s all you can do – is make the right decision for you.”