Main Image: Ash Barty celebrates her win at the 2022 Australian Open (Ash Barty Instagram).
The Aussie number one has announced her immediate retirement from tennis following her win in the Australian Open earlier this year.
“I’ll be retiring from tennis, and it’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud and it’s hard to say,” a teary Ash Barty told her good friend Casey Dellacqua on her official Instagram.
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Barty posted an emotional video with Dellacqua, a former Aussie tennis star and doubles partner, saying tennis had given her everything.
“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 racquets down.”
It was the life goal of a win at Wimbledon in 2021 that first had the three time Grand Slam winner thinking of retirement.
“Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and 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 that gut feeling after Wimbledon and I’d spoken to my team quite a lot about it. There was just this little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, wasn’t quite fulfilled.”
“Then came the challenge of the Australian Open, and I think 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 wanted to do and always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really, really excited.”
And now the Queensland champion is looking forward to getting on with life, with the most important people by her side.
“I’ve given absolutely everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis, and I’m really happy with that. For me that is my success.
“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 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, it’s where I’ve grown up.
“I’ll never, 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, not Ash Barty the athlete.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has thanked the Queensland tennis ace for her inspirational contribution to world tennis and women’s sport.
“On behalf of all Queenslanders I congratulate Ash Barty on an incredible career and wish her well with whatever she chooses to do next,” the Premier said. “Ash has been a true champion on and off the court and an exceptional role model who has done us all proud.
“From Ipswich and the western suburbs of Brisbane all the way to the world stage, we thank her for inspiring us all to be our best.
“While Ash doesn’t want a statue, we are working on a way that will pay tribute to her and her career and perhaps give future generations the opportunity to follow in her footsteps.”