Ashleigh Barty announces her retirement from tennis


Australian Ashleigh Barty, current WTA world number one and triple ‘Grand Slam’ champion, surprisingly announced her retirement from the world of tennis on the verge of turning 26 to “pursue other dreams” and be able to enjoy a life away from sport.

“I am retiring from tennis. I am so happy and so ready, I know that the moment, in my heart and for me as a person, is the right one. I am very grateful for everything that tennis has given me, that it has given me all my dreams and more, but I know that now is the time to walk away and pursue other dreams,” Barty said in a video on ‘Instagram’ where she is interviewed by former tennis player and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua.

The one from Queensland, who will turn 26 on April 24, won the Australian Open last January, her third ‘big’ after Roland Garros in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021, and had been number one for 114 consecutive weeks, the fourth longest streak in history after those of Steffi Graf and Serena Williams (186), and Martina Navratilova (156), and a total of 121. The Australian leaves the sports career with 27 titles, 15 in singles and 12 in doubles.

“This is the first time I’ve said it out loud and, yes, it’s hard to say. I no longer have the physical drive, the emotional desire and everything else it takes to challenge yourself at the highest level. I’m exhausted.” Barty confessed in statements collected by the WTA website.

The oceanic stressed “how much work is needed to get the best of yourself” and believes that she has already given her all. “Physically, I have nothing more to give. I have given absolutely everything I have to this beautiful sport of tennis, and I am very happy with that. For me, that is my success,” she admitted.

Barty already had an almost two-year hiatus in his career as a youngster, in 2014, but he did so “with a very different feeling”. “I am very grateful for everything that tennis has given me. It has given me all my dreams, and more, but I know that now is the time to walk away and pursue other dreams and, yes, to put down the racket,” she insisted.

In this sense, he pointed out that his victory at Wimbledon changed him “a lot as a person and an athlete.” “It was my dream, the only real dream I wanted in tennis and that really changed my perspective. I had that feeling after Wimbledon and had talked a lot with my team about it. There was only a small part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied. There was a change of perspective in me in the second phase of my career, that my happiness did not depend on the results, “he added.

And her start to 2022 could not have been better, with her triumph at the Australian Open, the first by a player from the country in 44 years. “For me, it feels like my perfect way to celebrate the incredible journey that my tennis career has been. Now, I want to pursue other dreams that I’ve always wanted to do,” she stated.

“I know people might not get it, but I’m fine with that because I know for me, Ash Barty, the person, has so many dreams that he wants to pursue that don’t necessarily involve traveling the world, being away from my family, home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be. It’s where I’ve grown up,” she continued.

In any case, Barty did not hide that this retirement “is scary” and that “he will never” stop feeling passion for his sport, which will always be “an important part” of his life. “But now I think it’s important to be able to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty as a person, not as Ash Barty as an athlete,” he said.

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