Following her bombshell retirement announcement yesterday that stunned the tennis world and left her fans applauding (if a tad sad), Ash Barty has addressed the media about her decision.
“Success for me is knowing that I’ve given absolutely everything I can,” she said during a press conference in Brisbane today.
“I’m fulfilled, I’m happy, and I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself.”
Though she gave no solid clues as to what she had planned next, teasing reporters that they will “have to wait and see”, she did allude to coaching young people – including her nieces and nephews.
Barty said she was looking forward to “getting out there… on court” with young boys and girls and contributing “in different ways”.
Yesterday, Ms Barty announced her retirement on social media.
“I’m so grateful for everything that tennis has given me,” she said in an interview with her close friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua, which she posted to her Instagram page.
“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.”
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“Happy and sad”
Tennis stars from around the world wished her well.
Former Wimbledon champ Andy Murray tweeted, “Happy for @ashbarty, gutted for tennis. What a player.”
American tennis star Serena Williams posted, “I can’t lie, I was sad to read your decision, but also happy for your new chapter. Always your fan close up and afar.”
And recently retired Australian wheelchair tennis champ Dylan Alcott called Barty a “champion, in every sense of the word,” he tweeted. “Very proud of you mate.”
Barty, who was the Wimbledon champion last year, and won this year’s Australian Open, said retirement was something she had been considering for a long time.
The 25 year old began her professional career in 2010, at the age of 14. She won 15 singles titles and 12 doubles titles.
“I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments,” Ms Barty said.
“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.”
Calling her Wimbledon victory her “one true dream”, it changed her perspective on life.
Still, the Queenslander wasn’t quite done yet.
“Then came the challenge of the Australian Open,” she said.
Beating American Danielle Collins in two sets at Rod Laver Arena on January 29, was, Barty said, “the most perfect way… to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.”
Though a three-time grand slam champ (her first win was the French Open in 2019), who is walking away from a multi-million dollar career, Barty said that her happiness was not dependent on the results.
“Success for me is knowing that I’ve given absolutely everything I can,” she said. “I’m fulfilled, I’m happy and I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself.”
“I’m fulfilled, I’m happy and I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself,” – Ash Barty
And at this point in her career she no longer has the “physical drive” and “emotional want” to continue playing at the top level.
“I just know that I’m spent,” Barty said.
“I just know that physically I have nothing more to give and that for me is success.”
Barty, who is engaged to long-time partner, professional golfer Garry Kissick, also touched on the difficult aspects of being a professional touring tennis player – being away from her family and her home in Brisbane.
“Which is where I’ve always wanted to be, it’s where I’ve grown up,” she said.
“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.”
And what will that next phase involve?
“I want to chase after some other dreams that I’ve wanted to do,” she told Ms Dellacqua. “But I’m really, really excited.”