Ashleigh Barty shocked the tennis world on Wednesday morning by announcing her retirement from the game. The women’s world number one is the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, but said “Im so happy and I’m so ready” to chase other dreams away from the game.
The 25-year-old, who has won three women’s singles Grand Slam titles and 12 singles titles on the WTA Tour, announced her decision via a post on Instagram. It also included an interview with close friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua, which explained her decision to walk away while being on top.
“Today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis,” Barty wrote. “I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way.”
Speaking to Dellacqua, Barty explained her decision further by stating that she simply did not have the “physical drive” to continue to get the best out of her self going forward. She also revealed that the decision was a long time coming, and it was planned since she fulfilled her childhood dream of winning the women’s singles title at Wimbledon.
“I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself. I’ve said it to my team multiple times, it’s just I don’t have that in me anymore,” Barty added.
“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want, and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level anymore, and I just know that I am spent. I just know physically, I have nothing more to give. That, for me, is success.”
Tributes poured in from the tennis world with former women’s world number one Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova praising Barty and hailing her as a “special player.” Stars from the ATP Tour have also paid tribute to the Australian, with Andy Murray saying that he was “gutted for tennis” but very happy for Barty.
“My friend, I will miss you on tour. You were different, and special, and we shared some amazing moments. What’s next for you? Grand Slam champion in golf?! Be happy and enjoy your life to the max xo Simo,” Halep wrote.