Look out Ash Barty - WTA weighs changing 'frozen' COVID rankings

The WTA is allowing players to count the points from their top 16 tournament results since March 2019. That allows someone such as No. 1 Ash Barty to remain on top despite sitting out most of 2020 after the COVID-19 outbreak took hold.

WTA CEO Steve Simon said the tour is currently reviewing if any further adjustments to the rankings process will be made.   -  Getty Images

The women's professional tennis tour is considering whether to make changes to its frozen ranking system adopted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press the tour is currently reviewing if any further adjustments to the rankings process will be made.

As things stand, the WTA is allowing players to count the points from their top 16 tournament results since March 2019. That allows someone such as No. 1 Ashleigh Barty to avoid being penalized for sitting out most of 2020 after the COVID-19 outbreak took hold.

Barty, for example, did not defend her 2019 title at the French Open in October, but still gets credit for the previous years championship.

The ATP announced Wednesday that it is tweaking its rankings rules with an eye to restoring the regular 52-week system fully by August 2022. The mens tour also said it will add about $5 million to prize money being offered between now and June at some smaller tournaments by increasing payouts that had been cut to 50% because of the pandemic.

READ: ATP to shell out its own funds to provide financial aid to raise prize money

As for WTA prize money, Simon said in his statement: “In addition to the over $3 million in relief we provided to players in 2020, the WTA has assisted both players and tournaments by subsidizing 100% of the onsite prize money in 2021 through the utilization of broadcast revenues, bonus pool re-allocations and central organizational funding as we feel very strongly in supporting both of our members during these challenging times.

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