World #1 Ash Barty announces retirement from tennisTim Strawn
In the midst of a perfect 11-0 season that included an Australian Open title, her third at the Grand Slam level, Reigning World No.1 Ash Barty has retired from tennis at the age of 25. “I know I’ve done this before, but in a very different feeling,” Barty said in an interview with good friend and former WTA pro Casey Dellacqua, which was posted on Instagram on Tuesday evening (Wednesday in Australia – watch the interview below). “I’m so grateful for everything that tennis has given me. It has given me all of my dreams plus more. But I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down.”
Barty, in her 119th week as the WTA’s No.1, said that winning Wimbledon in 2021 changed her perspective and made her think more seriously about retirement.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Barty said. “I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments. Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and for me as an athlete. You work so hard your whole life for one goal and I’ve been able to share that with so many incredible people.
“But to be able to win Wimbledon, which was my dream – the one true dream that I wanted in tennis – that really changed my perspective. I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it. There was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, that wasn’t quite fulfilled. And then came the challenge of the Australian Open. That for me just feels like the most perfect way, my perfect way, to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.”
This isn’t Barty’s first retirement. After the 2014 US Open, Barty took a 21-month break from the tour, taking up a career in professional cricket. She returned to the tour in 2016. Nearly three years later she made her top-10 debut, on April 1, 2019.
Later that spring Barty won the Roland-Garros title, and she reached No.1 for the first time on June 24, 2019. She has held the No.1 ranking for all but eight weeks since, including the last 112 in succession.
“I know that people may not understand it and that’s ok – I’m ok with that,” Barty said. “I know for me, Ash Barty as a person has so many dreams that she wants to chase after that don’t necessarily involve traveling the world, being away from my family, being away from my home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be, it’s where I’ve grown up.
“I’ll never, ever stop loving tennis. It will always be a massive part of my life. But now I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete.”
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