Ash Barty stunningly retires from tennis as world No.1

Ash Barty goes out on top: Australian tennis champ, 25, breaks down as she stunningly RETIRES while still No.1 – leaving the sporting world in SHOCK: ‘I have nothing more to give’

  • Women’s tennis world number one Ash Barty, 25, announces shock retirement
  • Hasn’t competed since winning Australian Open grand slam on home soil
  • Three time grand slam winner is ‘physically spent’ and will chase other dreams

Australian women’s world No.1 Ashleigh Barty has shocked the sporting world by retiring from tennis aged just 25.

Barty pulled the plug on her stunning career ‘to chase other dreams’ just weeks after winning the Australian Open, six months after claiming the Wimbledon title last year.

She grabbed the world No.1 spot on June 24, 2019, and she never relinquished it with high finishes in grand slams for the next two-and-a-half years. 

The three-time grand slam winner announced her shock retirement on Wednesday in a video with former doubles partner and good friend Casey Dellacqua.

Barty from Ipswich in Queensland, fought back tears as she made the bombshell announcement, saying she was physically and emotionally ‘spent’.

‘It’s the first time I’ve said it out loud, so it’s hard to say but I’m so happy and I’m so ready,’ she explained in the video.

Ash Barty (pictured winning her first grand slam at the French Open in 2019) has shocked the tennis world by announcing her retirement at age 25

The women’s world number one was visibly emotional as she made the shock announcement

‘I know I’ve done this before but in a very different feeling and I’m so grateful of what tennis has given me, all of my dreams plus more but I know the time is right now for me to step away and to put the rackets down.

Barty said she’s been considering retirement for a while and had a ‘gut feeling’ achieving her childhood dream of winning Wimbledon last year.

‘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,’ she said.

‘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 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.

‘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 — the one, true dream I wanted in tennis — that really changed my perspective. I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it.

‘There was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, wasn’t quite fulfilled. And then came the challenge of the Australian Open.

‘That for me just feels like the perfect way — my perfect way — to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.

‘As a person, this is what I want. I want to chase after some other dreams that I’ve always wanted to do, and always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really, really excited.’

Ash Barty (pictured with fiance Garry Kissick) now plans to chase other dreams

Barty also revealed she’s ‘physically spent’ after three consecutive years as the women’s world number one following her comeback to the sport in late 2016 after an 18-month break prompted by her struggles with mental health. 

‘There was a perspective shift in me in the second phase of my career that my happiness wasn’t dependent on the results,’ Barty said.

‘Success for me is knowing that I’ve given absolutely everything, 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 just don’t have that 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 am spent. I just know physically I have nothing more to give and that, for me, is success.

‘I’ve given absolutely everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis and I’m really happy with that.

‘I know that people may not understand it. And that’s OK, I’m OK with that because I know that 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 being away from my home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be.

‘Now I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person and not Ash Barty the athlete.’

Ash Barty hasn’t played in a tournament since her Australian Open title win in January 

Ash Barty’s childhood hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley presented her with the Australian Open trophy in what would be Barty’s last match

A visibly emotional Barty said she will never stop loving tennis, which will remain a massive part of her life.

She admitted it had been a difficult decision to make. 

‘But now I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person and not Ash Barty the athlete,’ she said. 

‘It was a hard decision but the right one and it brought me lots of comfort knowing this is right for me.’ 

She wiped back tears as her good friend Dellacqua described the bombshell announcement as brave and incredible.

‘One thing I know about you is that you make decisions that are right for you and have done it your way,’  Dellacqua told her.

‘I’m just so proud of you and am excited about what’s ahead of it.’

Barty recently moved back to her hometown of Ipswich with her fiance, golfer Garry Kissick, whom she plans to marry later in 2022. 

‘I have lived in the Springfield area my entire life and mum and dad have lived there for their entire lives. My sisters are not far away. We are excited that we are in our new place. It’s beautiful,’ Barty recently told the Courier Mail.

‘It is what we wanted and for us it is about making new memories now. The pups love our new place which for me it’s most important they run around and have a good time.’

Barty said she planned to share more details on why she was retiring at just 25 at a press conference on Thursday. 

Ash Barty described her decision to quit tennis as hard but the right one to make

‘Today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis,’ she captioned the video. 

‘I wasn’t sure how to share this news with you so I asked my good friend Casey Dellacqua to help me.

‘I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled.

‘Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I’ll always be grateful for the lifelong memories that we created together.’  

Barty, who turned pro at just 13, also claimed the French Open in 2019 and 12 other titles – despite taking a lengthy break from the sport to play cricket in 2014-16. 

She grabbed the world No.1 spot on June 24, 2019 following her maiden grand slam win at the French Open and she never relinquished it with high finishes in grand slams for the next two-and-a-half years.

Shortly after her maiden grand slam at Roland-Garros, Barty opened up on her career-threatening mental health battle which saw her temporarily quit tennis.

She said she had been struggling to cope with the pressure of being touted the sport’s next big thing after winning the Wimbledon junior crown at just 15.

Depressed and homesick, Barty packed it in after a first-round US Open defeat.

‘We went through ebbs and flows in that year in 2014,’ Barty recalled in 2019.

‘I’m not going to go into details of how I felt and what I had to go through, but there was a point when I think I knew I had to stop and, when I made the decision, it was easy.

‘Everyone is different, everyone is unique. I can’t sit here and tell people how they should figure out their way through their life. It’s their decision.

‘For me, it was just being aware of my mental health. Having a discussion with people was the best thing that came out of it.’

She added she wouldn’t be where she is right now had she not taken time out to play cricket.

Ash Barty (pictured with fiance Garry) is now planning life after tennis, which will include walking down the aisle

BARTY’S FULL ANNOUNCEMENT 

I will be retiring from tennis.

‘It’s the first time I’ve actually said that 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.

‘I know I’ve done this before, but in a very different feeling.

‘I’m so grateful to everything that 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.

CASEY DELLACQUA: Why now?

ASH BARTY:  ‘It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

‘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 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, – the one true dream that I wanted in tennis – that really changed my perspective.

‘I just had I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it.

There was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, wasn’t quite fulfilled.

‘And then came the challenge of the Australian Open and that for me just feels like the most perfect way, my perfect way, to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.

‘As a person, this is what I want. I want to chase after some other dreams that I’ve always wanted to do.

‘I’ve always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really, really excited.

DELLACQUA: Hard for a lot of people to understand. You’re probably one of the most marketable athletes in the world. How difficult was it to come to this decision?

BARTY: ‘There was a perspective shift in me in the second phase of my career that my happiness wasn’t dependent on the results.

‘Success for me is knowing that I’ve given absolutely everything, 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 just don’t have that 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 am spent. I just know physically I have nothing more to give and that, for me, is success.

‘I’ve given absolutely everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis and I’m really happy with that.

‘I know that people may not understand it. And that’s okay, I’m okay with that because I know that for me, Ash Barty, the person has so many dreams that she wants to chase after that don’t necessarily involve traveling the world, being away from my family being away from my home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be.

‘I’ll never ever ever stop loving tennis. It’ll 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 and not Ash Barty the athlete.

‘It was hard but it’s right and I know that brought me lots of comfort knowing that this is right for me.’ 

Her many victories, including 12 doubles titles – many with Dellacqua, earned her US$23.83 million in prize money and millions more in sponsorships.

But the sport took its toll and she withdrew from Indian Wells and the Miami Open after winning in Melbourne in January, citing ‘a need for ongoing recovery after winning the Australian Open’.

Barty and her incredible career were praised by Women’s Tennis Association chief executive Steve Simon minutes after her announcement.

‘Ash Barty with her signature backhand slice complemented by being the ultimate competitor, has always led by example through unwavering professionalism and sportsmanship she brought to every match,’ he said.

‘She has clearly established herself as one of the great champions of the WTA.

A young Ash Barty clings onto a  junior tennis trophy she won at a tournament back in 2002

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also paid tribute to Barty.

‘I want to say thank you to Ash for inspiring a generation of young people but particularly a generation of young indigenous people in this country,’ he told reporters.

‘You are all class. Thank you to ash for inspiring a country, inspiring a nation, at a time when this country really needed a good shot in the arm

‘None of us will ever forget that incredible comeback down there at the Australian open this year.’

Current and former greats of the game have also paid tribute.

‘Happy for @ashbarty, gutted for tennis, what a player,’ Andy Murray tweeted.

Ash Barty had ‘a gut feeling’ she’d soon give up tennis after winning Wimbledon last year

Ash Barty: A short but glittering tennis career 

April 2010 – Ash Barty turns professional at just 14-years-old, playing in an ITF Women’s Circuit tournament in her hometown of Ipswich

June 2011 – Wins the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon – her first junior grand slam 

January 2012 – Debuts in her first professional grand slam at just 16 as a wildcard at the Australian Open

January 2013 – Handed another wildcard at the Australian Open 

February 2013 – First WTA Tour win at the Malaysian Open

May 2013 – Wins first grand slam match at French Open 

June 2013 – Wins first WTA title in the doubles with Casey Dellacqua at the Birmingham Open 

September 2014 – Takes hiatus from professional tennis because she wanted to be a ‘normal teenage girl and have some normal experiences’

July 2015 – Signs with the Brisbane Heat to play in the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League

February 2016 – Announces her return to tennis following the competition of the WBBL season

February 2017 – Wins first WTA title at the Malaysian Open

January 2018 – Earns first grand slam seeding of her career as no.18 at the Australian Open

September 2018 – Wins first grand slam title in the doubles at the US Open alongside Coco Vandeweghe

June 2019 – Wins first grand slam singles title at the French Open – the first Australian to win at Roland Garros since Margaret Court in 1973

June 2019 – Becomes the first Australian woman to be world no.1 since Evonne Goolagong 

August 2020 – Takes 11-month hiatus from tennis due to Covid pandemic

July 2021 – Wins first Wimbledon title, the first Australian woman since Goolagong in 1980

July 2021 – Wins bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in mixed doubles alongside John Peers

August 2021 – pulls out of the remainder of the season to focus on Aus Open 

January 2022 – Wins maiden Australian Open title, becoming the eighth woman to win on three different surfaces

March 2022 – Retires from tennis  

 

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