Ashleigh Barty stunned the tennis world when she announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 25, just two months after her third Grand Slam success at the Australian Open
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World number one Ashleigh Barty has stunned the tennis world after announcing her retirement from the game aged just 25.
The Australian made the shock announcement on social media on Wednesday, saying she was leaving to pursue other life goals: “I’m so happy and I’m so ready.” she told Casey Dellacqua in an interview. “And I just know in my heart right now, for me as a person, that’s right.
“I know I’ve done this before, but with a very different feeling. I am so thankful for everything tennis has given me. It has given me all my dreams and more, but I know now is the time to retire, chase other dreams and put down the thugs.”
Barty, who started her professional career when she was just 14, won her first Grand Slam at the 2019 French Open. After rising to the top of the WTA rankings, she has since maintained her status, spending 114 straight weeks at the top.
She added to her grand slam collection with a first success at Wimbledon last year and in January became the first home player to win the Australian Open men’s or women’s singles title in 44 years. Serena Williams is the only other active player to have won major titles on clay, grass and hard courts.
Barty has won 15 titles over the course of her career with earnings alone estimated to be US$24m (£18.1m) and will go down in history as one of the greatest players of her generation. But she said after more than a decade in the game, it was time to step down.
“I wasn’t sure how to share this news with you, so I asked my good friend [retired Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua] to help me,” Barty added. “I am so grateful for everything this sport has given me and I leave proud and fulfilled.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me on my way. I will always be grateful for the lifelong memories we created together.
“I no longer have the physical drive, the emotional desire, and everything it takes to challenge myself at the very top. I am exhausted.”
It’s not the first time Barty has left the sport. She left tennis in 2014 to focus on building a professional career in women’s cricket after ranking outside the top 200 in singles.
However, after playing cricket in her native Australia for two years, Barty returned to the circuit in 2016 and began to revitalize her career, focusing on singles rather than doubles, where she had previously excelled.
The head of the Women’s Tennis Association, Steve Simon, called Barty “one of the great champions” in a statement released Wednesday night. “Ashleigh Barty, with her signature slice backhand complemented by her ultimate competitor, has always led by example with the unwavering professionalism and athleticism she brought to every game,” Simon said in a statement.
Several of her tennis peers supported Barty. Two-time Slam winner Simona Halep continued to joke Twitter : “What’s next for you? Grand Slam champion in golf?!”
Australian doubles champion Sam Stosur continued Instagram : “Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished, Ash. Incredible career. You’ve always done it your way and it’s so good for you that you’re following your heart and making this decision your way once again. I can’t wait to hear what’s next for you, but in the meantime enjoy your retirement.”
By default, 20-year-old Iga Swiatek – winner of the 2020 French Open – will become the latest player to rank world number one if Barty is out.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/tennis/ashleigh-barty-retirement-tennis-confirmed-26534060 Ashleigh Barty retires: The world number one makes the shock decision to quit tennis at the age of 25