“I be retiring from tennis!” are the words of women’s tennis number 1 Ashleigh Barty that shocked the tennis world on Wednesday morning. The 25-year-old posted a video on Instagram announcing that she was ending her professional tennis career.
This decision comes as a surprise. The Australian is playing better than ever.
“I know that people may not understand it. I’m OK with that. Because I know that Ash Barty the person has so many dreams she wants to chase after that don’t necessarily involve travelling the world, being away from my family, from my home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be.”
In her tennis career, Barty has experienced a lot and travelled a lot. She has worked hard to fulfil her dreams. She always wanted to win Wimbledon, and that dream came true last year.
“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 be able to win Wimbledon, which was my dream, my one true dream that I wanted in tennis, that really changed my perspective.”
After that dream came true, retirement plans emerged. “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.”
Barty played strong tennis at the Australian Open with the home fans behind her. She advanced to the final in commanding fashion, and secured her first and only Grand Slam title in her home country in straight sets, 6-3 and 7-6. This makes her the first Australian singles player to win the tournament in 44 years.
But why the retirement now?
“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.
“I just know I am spent, I know physically I have nothing more to give and that for me is success.”
The 25-year-old has made a courageous decision for which she is receiving a lot of encouragement from other tennis players like Andy Murray and Australian wheelchair tennis player Dylan Alcott.
Happy for @ashbarty gutted for tennis 🎾 what a player❤️
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2022
Ash Barty. Amazing tennis player but even better person. A champion in every sense of the word. Very proud of you mate ❤️
— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) March 23, 2022
Barty has not only given her all on the tennis court, but also off it. That is why she is rightly revered as a national hero in Australia. Through her successes she has made a difference.
In the last year, the number of children in Australia playing tennis has increased by almost 30 per cent. Many of these children are girls empowered to take up the sport, thanks to Barty.
The 25-year-old now wants to move on to other projects, but tennis will always be part of her life.
“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.”