The tennis world has been left in total shock at the news of Ashy Barty’s retirement.
Less than three months after being crowned Australian Open champion, Barty called time on her career at the age of 25.
The champion Australian icon retires as world No. 1 with three Grand Slam titles to her name, following her triumph at Wimbledon last year and the French Open success in 2019.
“It’s something I have been thinking about for a long time," she said in an announcement posted on Instagram.
“I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career – Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and me as an athlete.
“To be able to win Wimbledon, which was my dream and the one true dream, that really changed my perspective.
“I’ve had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and have spoken to my team quite a lot about it – there was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied and wasn’t quite fulfilled.
“Then came the challenge of the Australian Open, and I think that for me feels like the most perfect way, my perfect way, to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.
“I want to chase after some other dreams that I’ve always wanted to do.”
Congratulations on an incredible career, @ashbarty 💙— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) March 23, 2022
The tennis community, especially in Australia, will miss you dearly but is all the better for the standard you set as a person and a player.
Forever a world No.1 role model 🏆 pic.twitter.com/oQ8HHgUFIJ
Within minutes of the announcement being made public, her tennis compatriots paid tribute to Barty.
“Ash, what can I say, you know I have tears right? My friend, I will miss you on tour. You were different, and special, and we shared some amazing moments. What’s next for you? Grand Slam champion in golf?! Be happy and enjoy your life to the max,” former World No. 1 Simona Halep said on Twitter.
“Ash Barty. Amazing tennis player but even better person. A champion in every sense of the word. Very proud of you mate,” Australian quad tennis legend Dylan Alcott posted on Twitter.
Respect it @ashbarty 🙏🏼👏🏼— Thanasi Kokkinakis (@TKokkinakis) March 23, 2022
“Ash, I have no words… actually you are showing your true class leaving tennis in this beautiful way. I am so happy I could share the court with you.. tennis will never be the same without you! I admire you as a player and a person.. wishing you only the best!,” two-time Grand Slam winner Petra Kvitova wrote on Twitter.
Happy for @ashbarty gutted for tennis 🎾 what a player❤️— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2022
What’s next for Ash Barty?
While previously playing cricket, Barty’s future may not involve sport at all based on her comments when she announced her tennis retirement.
“I know people may not understand it and that’s ok because I know for me, Ash Barty the person has so many dreams that she wants to chase after that don’t necessarily involve travelling the world, being away from my family, from being away from my home,” Barty said.
“Now I think it’s important I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person and not Ash Barty the athlete.”