• Ash Barty holding The Venus Rosewater Dish after winning the Ladies Singles Final match at the Wimbledon Championships 2021. (AELTC POOL)Source: AELTC POOL
The Ngarigo champion will be staying in separate accommodation as COVID nerves persist.
Source:
AAP
20 Jul 2021 - 4:14 PM  UPDATED 20 Jul 2021 - 4:15 PM

Ash Barty will be based outside the athletes village during the Tokyo Olympics, with Australia's team boss confident the alternate accommodation will bolster her bid for gold.

Barty, fresh from beating Karolina Pliskova in the Wimbledon final, has touched down in Japan for her first Olympics.

The world No.1 is among Australia's leading medal contenders in Tokyo - with Simona Halep, Serena Williams, Bianca Andreescu, Sofia Kenin, Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber and Coco Gauff absent for a range of reasons.

Numerous Olympians from around the world have chosen a different base for this and previous Games; the US men's basketball team memorably stayed on a cruise ship for Rio 2016.

But the spectre of COVID-19 and associated biosecurity protocols have added a degree of complexity to such arrangements for Tokyo.

"Ash is staying elsewhere," Australia's chef de mission Ian Chesterman told reporters.

"We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it's just what works best for them.

"Something I've always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.

"In terms of her performance plan, it's best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that."

However, Barty won't be bypassing the village entirely.

The 25-year-old, who could become Australia's third Indigenous Olympic gold medallist if successful in Tokyo, dropped by the team's base for a coffee on Tuesday morning.

"She is staying in an Australian environment where she can still easily access the village," Chesterman said.

Australia's Olympic tennis team were rocked by last week's withdrawal of Alex de Minaur, who tested negative for COVID-19 at Wimbledon then contracted the virus after leaving London.

"They know they haven't had contact with Alex during any critical period of time and their focus is now on making the most of their opportunity here," Chesterman said.

"They're not worried."

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