Ashleigh Barty’s shock decision to retire from tennis two months after winning the Australian Open at the age of 25 has left many shocked and surprised by the news.
The three-time Grand Slam champion confirmed the news in a video posted on her Instagram, insisting she wants to ‘chase other dreams’ as well as not having the ‘physical drive’ and the ’emotional want’ required to compete at the top level.
This is the second time the Australian has retired from the sport – she previously retired in 2014 and made the switch to cricket, playing for Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash League, before making a tennis comeback in 2016.
‘There’s no right way, there’s no wrong way, it’s just my way, and this is perfect for me to share it with you, to talk to you about it, with my team and my loved ones, that I’ll be retiring from tennis,’ the reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion said.
‘It’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud and it’s hard to say, but I’m so happy and so ready, and I just know at the moment in my heart that for me, as a person, this is right.
‘I’ve done this before, but with a very different feeling and I’m so grateful to everything tennis has given me. It’s 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 rackets down.
‘It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and 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 when 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 win Wimbledon was my dream, the one, true dream that I wanted in tennis. That really changed my perspective and I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it, and there was just a little part of me which wasn’t quite satisfied and fulfilled.
‘Then came the challenge of the Australian Open and that felt like the perfect way – my perfect way – to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been. I want to chase after some other dreams I’ve always wanted to do and always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really excited.
‘There was a perspective shift in me in this second phase of my career that my happiness wasn’t dependent on results and success for me is knowing I’ve given absolutely everything I can. I’m fulfilled, I’m happy and I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself.’
When announcing her retirement from tennis at the age of 16, Barty cited one of the main reasons being down to feeling ‘disconnected’ from her family.
It’s unclear if Barty will get back into cricket or perhaps take up another new sport – she also plays golf off a handicap of four – but the world No.1 has suggested again that she wants a simpler life which doesn’t take her away from her family.
‘I’ve said it to my team multiple times, I don’t have it in me anymore. I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level anymore,’ she continued.
‘I just know I am spent, I know physically I have nothing more to give and that for me is success. I’ve given everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis and I’m really happy with that – and, for me, that is my success.
‘I know people may not understand it and I’m okay with that because I know Ash Barty the person has so many dreams she wants to chase after which don’t involve travelling the world, being away from my family, being away from my home, where I’ve always wanted to be.
‘I’ll never 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.
‘It was hard, but it’s right, and I know that brought me lots of comfort knowing it is right for me. I’m very excited.’
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