World No 1 Ashleigh Barty has announced her shock retirement from professional tennis at the age of 25.
The Australian, who has won three Grand Slam titles and is the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, said she was retiring from the sport for a second time to “chase other dreams”.
Barty made the announcement of her retirement in an Instagram video recorded with friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua.
“I kind of wasn’t quite sure how I was going do this but I think so many times in my life both my professional and my personal, you’ve been there for me,” Barty told Dellacqua.
“And I just couldn’t think ‘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, my loved ones, that I’ll be retiring from tennis.
“And so first time I’ve actually said it out loud and yeah, it’s hard to say, but I’m so happy and I’m so ready and I just know at the moment in my heart for me as a person, this is right.”
Barty spoke of how winning Wimbledon – the first time an Australian had claimed a singles title at the Championships in nearly 20 years – in 2021 was the culmination of her “one true dream”.
Ashleigh Barty career stats
|Singles win-loss record:||302-105|
|Singles win percentage:||74.9%|
|Career titles won:||15|
|Grand Slam titles won:||3|
|Highest world ranking:||No 1|
|Career prize money won:||$23,829,071|
It proved life-changing for the right-hander too and her voice broke as she told Dellacqua retirement was something she had been considering for a long time.
“I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments,” Barty said. “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.”
Barty had previously retired from tennis in 2014 and the following year made the switch to playing cricket, batting for Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash League, before returning to tennis in 2016. She also plays golf off a handicap of four.
Barty promised in the caption to the video there would be “more to come tomorrow” at a press conference.
Ash Barty’s retirement announcement in full
“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. 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 dependant 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.
“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. 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.”
– Barty was speaking to former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua in a video posted on her Instagram account