At just 25 years old, Australia’s Ashleigh “Ash” Barty, the world’s top-ranked women’s tennis player, said Wednesday that she is retiring from the sport.
An emotional Barty made the stunning announcement in a video posted on her Instagram account.
In an informal interview with Casey Dellacqua, her friend and former doubles partner, Barty said “I’m so happy and so ready, and I just know at the moment in my heart for me as a person this is right.”
Barty said she was “so grateful for everything that tennis has given me” but said it was time ‘to chase other dreams.
Barty acknowledged, “I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and kind of everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level anymore.”
“I just know…I am absolutely spent,” she told Dellacqua. “I just know physically I have nothing more to give.”
Barty’s shocking retirement comes just two months after winning her third career Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, becoming the first native-born player to win the title in 44 years. She has been ranked at number one since June 2019.
Barty quickly rose through the ranks of the women’s tour after her 2010 debut, winning the Wimbledon junior title a year later at the age of 15. But she left the tour three years later in 2014, citing burnout from the constant travel, and joined a professional cricket team in Australia.
She returned to the tour in 2016 and regained her status as one of the sport’s best players. Her 15 career singles victories include the 2019 French Open and last year’s Wimbledon tournament. Barty also won the 2018 U.S. Open doubles championship with American CoCo Vandeweghe as her partner.
Scott Simon, the head of the Women’s Tennis Association, praised Barty in a statement as “the ultimate competitor.”
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.