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“It’s been incredible and everything that I’ve ever wanted” – Ash Barty on retirement
If anyone was hoping for Ash Barty to return to tennis, the Australian had some disappointing news as she reveals she has no regrets about walking away from the sport in a new interview
The lure of professional tennis has been to resist for many champions once they retire from the sport. Over the years, several Grand Slam winners and top-ranked players have called time on their careers only to return to the tour for a second innings and, occasionally, a third.
But if anyone is holding their breath for Ash Barty to return to the tour, the Australian had some disappointing news as she revealed that she has no regrets about walking away from the sport in an interview with The Guardian.
The 26-year-old spoke about her life as a retired tennis pro and said she had even placed $20 wager with former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen, who insists that Barty would make a comeback to tennis.
“I’ve no regrets about retiring,” Barty said. “Not one. I knew it was the right time for me. It was what I wanted to do. And I know that a lot of people may still not understand it. But I hope they respect that in the sense that it was my decision. And yeah, it’s been incredible. It’s been everything that I’ve ever wanted.”
“Sorry to disappoint. I didn’t watch this year’s Wimbledon finals” – Barty
And if you thought Barty might have been catching the action at Wimbledon on television, you would be wrong again. The Australian, who won the women’s singles title last year, said she did not watch the finals but was delighted for the two women who reached the singles final – Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur – and her countryman Nick Kyrgios.
“I didn’t watch this year’s Wimbledon finals,” Barty added. “Sorry to disappoint. Obviously I was rapt for Ons and Elena, who are both brilliant girls. And it was obviously awesome to see Nick, who I’ve known for over a dozen years, get to the final. But since retiring I’ve probably watched as many matches as I did when I was playing, which was slim to none. Occasionally we’ll have it on as background noise but it’s very seldom that I’ll sit down and watch a match from start to end with any interest. I hit enough tennis balls in my life. I don’t need to see others hitting them as well.”
While Barty stepped aside from the game, Iga Swiatek has become the undisputed leader on the WTA Tour, racking up an incredible 37 consecutive wins that only ended at Wimbledon. The Australian said she is proud of Swiatek and her team but added that there is incredible depth in the women’s game at the same time.
“Iga is an incredible talent, an exceptional human and a lovely girl,” Barty said. “I love her and her team, and I couldn’t be more proud that she took over the No 1 position, because she plays the sport in the right way and has so much energy and charisma. But the depth in women’s tennis at the moment is great too. We’ve come from having one or two players dominating to there being more unpredictability. And that’s not because the tour is weak. In fact, it’s because the tour is so strong. Everyone in that top 40 to 50 bracket is so exceptionally good that week to week they could all be top‑10 players.