The current world number one Ashleigh Barty has announced she’ll be retiring from professional tennis at the age of just 25.
The Australian sports star made the shock announcement that she’ll be leaving her job as a tennis player on social media on Wednesday, just two months after claiming a third Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
During an emotional interview with her friend and former Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua, Barty shared she was leaving the sport to pursue other things.
I’m so happy and I’m so ready. And I just know at the moment in my heart, for me as a person, this is right,” she said in a video.
“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 put the racquets down.”
Barty has had a incredibly successful run in tennis over the last few years. She won her first Grand Slam at the 2019 French Open, which was followed by success at Wimbledon last year. Her Australian Open victory in January saw her become the first home player to win the Australian Open men’s or women’s singles title in 44 years.
Serena Williams is the only other active female player to have won major titles on clay, grass and hard courts.
“I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself … I don’t have that in me anymore,” Barty said in her interview.
“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level any more. I am spent.”
Barty’s announcement marks her second retirement from tennis, having left the sport as a teenager after struggling with some of the demands that came with playing the sport professionally. She made her return to tennis in 2016 where she quickly rose up the rankings.
“I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled,” she said.
“I’ll never, ever stop loving tennis, it’s been a massive part of my life, but I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next part of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete.”
Women’s Tennis Association boss Steve Simon said Barty was “one of the great champions” and would be missed.