He started playing tennis at the age of four, won the last Australian Open and battled depression. Ashleigh Barty was the world number 1 but shocked everyone and everything on Wednesday by announcing her retirement from the sport at the age of 25.
The victory cry was thick, the clenched fists showed relief, and the tears came from those who didn’t believe they had achieved such a feat. When, in January, Ashleigh Barty beat American Danielle Collins to win the Australian Open – it would have taken more than 40 years to see an Australian lift the Cup again – without giving up a set in seven matches, everything indicated that the world number 1 still had a lot to give and even more history to write in the sport. But, in the end, it turned out to be a farewell.
Without competition since, the tennis player of just 25 years old shocked everyone and everyone this Wednesday by announcing his final retirement from tennis. In a video posted to social media, Ashleigh revealed in an interview with former tennis player and friend Casey Dellacqua that it was time to leave the courts. “Today is difficult and full of emotions, because I am announcing my retirement from tennis”, underlined the Australian, admitting to being “exhausted” and believing that she has nothing to give to the sport.
“There was a change of perspective in me in the second phase of my career, in which my happiness no longer depended on the results. Success, for me, is knowing that I gave everything I had. could have given for the sport. I’m full, happy and I know how hard it is to give the best of myself. And I don’t feel that anymore, I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t I don’t have the emotional will anymore. I’m exhausted. Physically, I have nothing else to give to tennis. I’m happy and calm with my decision, because I gave it my all. Now I just want to enjoy it and to be Ashley a person and not Ashley an athlete,” he said in an interview.
The young Australian has led women’s tennis for 119 consecutive weeks, since winning her first “Grand Slam” title at Roland Garros in June 2019. After joining the exclusive group of “Grand Slam” winners on three surfaces of different styles, the clay of Roland Garros, the grass of Wimbledon (2021) and the hard ground of the Australian Open (2022), Ashley bids farewell with 15 titles won in her short career, including the WTA Finals in 2019.
The athlete is the seventh-longest-serving player in world tennis, only surpassed by Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams, Chris Evert, Martina Hings and Monica Seles, and the first to leave the top spot since Belgium’s Justine . Henin, in May 2008, when she was also 25 and champion of two “Grand Slam” tournaments (Roland Garros and US Open).
Shy, reserved and passionate about sports
Ashleigh Barty was born on April 24, 1996 and is the youngest of three sisters. Daughter of Robert, a former high-level amateur golfer, the sport has always flowed in the veins of the tennis player who picked up a racket for the first time at the age of four. At age five, she began training after Coach Joyce heard about the girl’s talent and invited her to come to the training center. On the first day, Ashleigh wowed everyone and started training with athletes twice her age. “Their coordination, concentration and maturity were incredible,” the coach told the Daily Mail.
Later, at the age of nine, the tennis player started playing against boys six years her senior, and at age 12 she started playing games in practice with adults. In addition to tennis, the Australian had a great talent for golf, like her father, but it was with the rackets that she was happiest.
Shy and very simple, Ashleigh began competing outdoors at the age of 14. She used to call her parents crying every day, missing her, but her love for sports and her desire to compete helped her manage the distance from the family as well as possible. Everything was going well when, in 2014, at just 18 years old, he decided to quit tennis. Ashleigh stressed that she wanted to take the opportunity to do “normal teenage things” and eventually admitted she suffered from depression. “All this pressure, the press…I can’t. I have to stop,” he said at the time. The father, Robert, was saddened by the decision and, in an interview, admitted that he suffered from bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. “I believe she inherited those issues from me.”
The Australian was absent from tennis for 17 months – but she played cricket and was also successful -, traveled, worked with a psychologist and ended up coming back thanks to an initiative with young Australian tennis players, in which she played again, and to her friend Dellacqua, who later watched her play, texted her: “Hello my dear. Good decision, go fishing”. Ashleigh returned to the courts refreshed in 2016 and began to rise through the world ranks under new Australian coach Craig Tyzzer.
When the covid-19 pandemic started, in 2020, the Australian ended up taking another break from her career for 11 months and chose to stay in Australia, giving up traveling the world to play in the WTA tournaments, which have resumed in August of the same year. , after a five-month hiatus. In 2022, the farewells: Ashleigh wins the Australian Open and, two months later, announces the final farewells.