On Wednesday world number one female tennis player Ash Barty announced she is retiring from the sport of tennis at the age of just 25. Barty is just over two months removed from having won the Australian Open in her home country.
According to her, that was the best way to go out. She said she thought about retiring after Wimbledon but felt she needed to win her home tournament before retirement. She said in a video on Instagram that it is time for her to chase other dreams.
“I don’t have the physical drive or the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level anymore and I just know that I am absolutely spent.” -Ash Barty
Barty won the Australian open in late January to become the first Australian in 44 years to win the Major on home soil. She is 121-24 since 2019 winning 12 singles titles and three doubles titles in that span.
Why Retire Now?
When asked why now, Barty stated she simply feels ready. She doesn’t feel she has the commitment anymore to train to be the best and wants to pursue other opportunities.
Barty won the French Open, Australian open, and Wimbledon tournaments. She never lost a Grand Slam singles tournament final. All of those tournaments are played on different surfaces as well, which shows her versatility as an athlete.
She is certainly sad about the predicament but knows it’s the best thing for her. She gets to choose to go out on top and has the support of her friends and family without a doubt.
“I’m so happy, and I’m so ready. I just know at the moment, in my heart, for me as a person, this is right.” -Ash Barty
This is not the first time Barty has chosen to walk away from tennis. In 2011 Barty won the girls Wimbledon junior championship and chose to step away from tennis after that due to extreme burnout, similar to what she says she’s feeling now.
Ash said that the burnout back then was different. She says now, while she feels spent, she’s happy and excited for her decision. When she was 15 and chose to leave tennis she had lots of second thoughts. I do not expect her to un-retire and come back to play, despite the trend in sports.
Barty has cemented herself as one of the best tennis players in Australia’s history. Since 2010 she has won 15 singles titles and 12 doubles titles. She also spent over 120 weeks at number one in the world, including 114 consecutive weeks leading up to her retirement.
It was quite a surprise to many, as her burnout seems unnoticeable on the court. Barty has won 24 of her last 25 matches and has won three of her last four tournaments.
I’m glad Barty got to go out on top and on her own terms. It’s rare to see athletes know their prime is ending and choose to step away quietly. Congratulations to Barty on a phenomenal career, there’s no doubt she’ll succeed at whatever she chooses next.