World No.1 Ash Barty stunned the Australian sport community on Wednesday, announcing her retirement from tennis.
The three-time Grand Slam Singles champion shared an emotional video on her Instagram.
“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want, and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level anymore,” the 25-year-old said in the video.
“I’ve given everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis. I’m really happy with that. For me, that is my success.
“I’ve given absolutely everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis and I’m really happy with that.”
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Barty finishes her career on a high following her Australian Open win in January, which sits alongside her French Open (2019) and Wimbledon (2021) Singles triumphs.
The announcement was followed by a number of tributes to the retiring world no.1 from her fellow Aussie players to internationals. She also has a US Open Women’s Doubles title from 2018 with Coco Vandeweghe as well as an Olympic bronze medal from the mixed doubles at Tokyo 2020 with John Peers.
On top of that, she was world number one for a total of 121 weeks, a stint that included a streak of 114 consecutive weeks, which is the fourth longest in WTA Tour history.
“I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments, and Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and an athlete,” Barty said.
“When you work so hard your whole life for one goal … to be able to win Wimbledon, which was the one true dream that I wanted in tennis, that really changed my perspective.
“I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and there was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, that wasn’t quite fulfilled.
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
So much respect for you Ash! Your whole career you’ve done it your way! Always followed your heart and I hope you keep doing this!! Enjoy golf 🏌️♀️, planning wedding, being home, being with family and dogs 🐶, having good Aussie coffee everyday ☕️ and so many more things!!! pic.twitter.com/ABpceGOOq5
— Daria Saville (@Daria_gav) March 23, 2022
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 xo Simo@ashbarty pic.twitter.com/WbX7kXnJ1l
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) March 23, 2022
Happy for @ashbarty gutted for tennis 🎾 what a player❤️
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2022
Long-time friend and inspiration, Evonne Goolagong Cawley said: “I’m so supportive of Ash, and making a decision that is best for her and makes her happy. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings, and to watch Ash achieve her dreams post tennis”.
During a press conference on Thursday, Barty said she wants to give back to the community.
“I know my contribution to the Indigenous side will grow. I’m excited to have the opportunity to give Indigenous youth around our nation more opportunities to get into the sport,” she said.
“I’ve always wanted more time to contribute in other ways and I think now I have that opportunity. I’ve been fortunate enough to have so many opportunities given to me from tennis and now I’m ready to give back in ways I’m passionate about.
“Visiting Uluru and being the community was incredible. That’s what lights me up inside, that’s what makes me happy. We’ve done a few of those trips now and I can’t wait to do a few more,” she added.