“I don’t have that in me anymore”: To everyone’s surprise, Ashleigh Barty, world No.1, retires at 25

It’s an earthquake on the tennis planet. And as often, no one had seen it coming. Last night, the WTA saw its boss say stop. At only 25 years old and while she dominates women’s tennis, Ashleigh Barty has chosen to bow out, a few months after her coronation in front of her audience at the Australian Open. “I’m so happy, and I’m so ready and I just know now in my heart that as a person, it’s the right decision.“, said the Australian, in tears, in a video message.

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At the top of the WTA rankings since September 2019, Barty has won 15 singles titles in his career, including three Grand Slams (Roland-Garros 2019, Wimbledon 2021, Australian Open 2022). “Success for me is knowing that I gave it my all, everything I could. I’m fulfilled, I’m happy, and I know how much work it takes to give the best of yourself.“, explained the native of Ipswich who also has twelve titles in doubles, including one in Grand Slam (US Open 2018).

To be able to win Wimbledon was my dream. It really changed my perspective

Titled on her land in January to become the first Australian in 44 years to win in Melbourne – joining the closed club of sacred Grand Slam players on three different surfaces -, “Ash” has achieved her latest goal. And today, it is empty. Absent from the circuit since her success in Melbourne, she no longer has the strength or the desire to continue. “I just don’t have that in me anymore. I no longer have the physical energy, the emotional will and everything it takes to surpass myself at the highest level.“, she continued.

If she calls herself “absolutely sold out“This desire to quit doesn’t come out of nowhere, however. It’s even been running through his head for a few months. Because it was in London that the trigger took place last July.”To be able to win Wimbledon was my dream, my only real dream in tennis. It really changed my perspective. I had this intuition after Wimbledon and I talked a lot about it to my team” confessed the champion. “There was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite happy (…) And then came the challenge of the Australian Open and I think for me that’s the most perfect” to leave.

Ashleigh Barty

Credit: Getty Images

Chase other dreams

If this sudden announcement caused an earthquake on the planet of the little yellow ball, the profile of Ashleigh Barty makes this decision not so surprising. The Australian had already chosen to distance herself from tennis at the age of 17. For seventeen months she had put away her racquets to sign a professional contract with the Brisbane Heat team for the inaugural season of the Women’s Championship cricket. “To make it short, I needed to find myself. I was a little lost during the first part of my careere”, she explained in January.

She also won a golf tournament when the pandemic kept her away from the courts. So, it is ultimately only an episode of her life that she closes with this early retirement. “I know it’s time for me to step away, chase other dreams and put the rackets down“, insisted the player who has won 15 titles on the WTA circuit. Something to suggest that we can see her again on sports fields, even if they are not tennis courts.

(With AFP)

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