Ash Barty: World number one announces surprise retirement aged 25

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Australia's Ashleigh Barty poses with the trophy for the media after winning the women's singles final on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London. 2021

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Ashleigh Barty, the top-ranked Australian tennis player, announced on Wednesday that she would retire from the sport at the age of 25.

“I just know at the moment, in my heart, for me as a person, this is right,” Barty said in a video posted to her social media account.

It comes less than two months after she won the Australian Open, winning her third Grand Slam singles title.

“It’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud and, yeah, it’s hard to say,” Barty said during an informal interview with her former doubles partner, Casey Dellacqua.

“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level anymore. I am spent.”

This is the second time she’s walked away from tennis: in 2014 she left the sport due to burnout but eventually went on to win major championships on three different surfaces: she won the French Open in 2019 and at Wimbledon last year.

In January, she became the first Australian player in 44 years to triumph at the nation’s Grand Slam tournament.

Her announcement was all the more stunning from an on-court perspective given her recent run of success: Barty had won 25 of her last 26 matches and three of her past four events.

Only one other woman has walked away from the sport while atop the WTA rankings: Justine Henin was No. 1 when she retired in May 2008.

In a statement released by the WTA, CEO Steve Simon called Barty “the ultimate competitor” and said she “has always led by example through the unwavering professionalism and sportsmanship she brought to every match.”

“We will miss her,” Simon said.

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