INTERNATIONAL: Australian tennis great and current world number one Ash Barty has announced her retirement from the sport at just 25 years old, saying “the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down.”
She retires with 15 titles, less than two months after winning the Australian Open, her third Grand Slam singles triumph following the 2021 Wimbledon and 2019 French Open.
"Ash Barty the person has so many dreams 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," an emotional Barty said in a video posted on her Instagram account.
"I'll never, ever stop loving tennis, it's been a massive part of my life, but I think it's important that I get to enjoy the next part of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete."
She spent a total of 121 weeks as world number one.
It marks Barty's second "retirement" from the sport, having walked away from the game as a teenager in late-2014 after becoming disaffected by the Tour.
She returned in 2016 and rose rapidly up the rankings.
“I wasn’t quite sure of how I was gonna do this,” an emotional Barty said to a good friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua in a video posted to Barty’s social media.
She said: “It’s hard to say … I’m so happy and I’m so ready. 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 different feeling," she said in the Instagram video.
"I'm so grateful for tennis, it's given me all of my dreams, plus more, but I know the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down."
WTA boss Steve Simon paid tribute to a player who has become synonymous with good sportsmanship and won fans worldwide for her brilliant tennis and laidback demeanor.
“Ashleigh Barty with her signature slice backhand, complemented by being the ultimate competitor, has always led by example through the unwavering professionalism and sportsmanship she brought to every match," said Simon.
"With her accomplishments at the Grand Slams, WTA Finals, and reaching the pinnacle ranking of No.1 in the world, she has clearly established herself as one the great champions of the WTA."