Ashleigh Barty: World number one makes shock call to quit tennis
World number one Ashleigh Barty has
shocked the sporting world by announcing she will retire from professional
tennis at just 25.
The Australian made the announcement on
social media on Wednesday, saying she was leaving to "chase other
"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.
Barty won her first Grand Slam at the 2019
She has remained the top-ranked player since
then, backed up by success at Wimbledon last year.
In January, she became 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 wasn't sure how to share this news
with you so I asked my good friend [retired Australian tennis player Casey
Dellacqua] to help me," Barty said on Wednesday.
"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, I'll always be grateful for the lifelong memories we created
Barty added she was "absolutely
spent" and "physically I have nothing more to give".
Women's Tennis Association head
Steve Simon said Barty was "one of the great champions" and would be
"Ashleigh Barty with her
signature slice backhand, complemented by being the ultimate competitor, has
always led by example through the unwavering professionalism and sportsmanship
she brought to every match," he said in a statement.
Fellow Australian Grand Slam winners
also paid tribute. Sam Stosur hailed Barty's "incredible career",
while Dylan Alcott said she was a "champion in every sense of the word".
Romanian former world number one
Simona Halep added: "What's next for you? Grand Slam champion in
Barty's Australian Open win had
cemented her reputation as a national hero. In an emotional moment, she was
presented with her trophy by fellow Aboriginal Australian tennis champion and
mentor Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
A recent report by The Age newspaper highlighted how the number of
Australian children playing tennis had climbed by nearly 30% in the past year.
Many of them are from Indigenous communities and many are girls.
"I'm really proud that I can be
a small part of getting more kids into sport and chasing their dreams,"
she told BBC Sport in January.
Barty took a break from tennis in
2014, citing its intense demands, and played in the inaugural season of
cricket's Women's Big Bash League.
She said that was "a very
different feeling" to her retirement on Wednesday, adding tennis had
"given me all my dreams plus more".