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Breaking: World No 1 Ash Barty announces retirement from tennis at the age of 25

Just one month shy of turning 26 years old, the world No 1 has announced her decision to retire from the sport after winning three Grand Slam singles titles

Ashleigh Barty, 2022 Ashleigh Barty, 2022 © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

The world’s top-ranked player Ash Barty has announced her retirement from the sport at the age of 25. The Australian revealed her decision in an interview with the WTA Tour and comes just two months after she won her third Major singles crown at the Australian Open in front of her home fans.

Barty, who currently holds the Wimbledon and Australian Open titles and has a lead of more than 2,000 ranking points over her closest rival – Iga Swiatek – in the world rankings, had last competed at her home Grand Slam in January and was expected to return to the tour in April.

In a video interview with close friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua, an emotional Ash Barty said, “It’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud and, yeah, it’s hard to say. But I’m so happy, and I’m so ready. I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent.”

“I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself. I’ve said it to my team multiple times – `I just don’t have that in me anymore.’ Physically, I have nothing more to give. I’ve given absolutely everything I have to this beautiful sport of tennis, and I’m really happy with that. For me, that is my success.”

The Australian, who was crying towards the end of the interview, said winning Wimbledon, which had been her childhood dream, was an important turning point leading to Wednesday’s announcement.

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

“The challenge of the Australian Open, and I think that for me, 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.”

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

This is the second time that Barty is walking away from the game. As a teenager, she took an 18-month break from the sport to spend more time at home and also competed in women’s professional cricket in Australia. But this time, Barty said it’s different and she wants to focus on dreams outside of tennis.

“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, yeah, put the rackets down.”

“I know that people may not understand it. 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 traveling the world, being away from my family from my home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be. It’s where I’ve grown up.”

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