Sydney: Women’s world No. 1 tennis player Ashleigh Barty of Australia had the tennis world and her legion of fans in a state of shock on Wednesday (IST) after the winner of three Grand Slams announced her retirement one month shy of her 26th birthday.
Barty won the French Open in 2019, the Wimbledon in 2021 and Australian Open earlier this year, and her current reign of 114 consecutive weeks at No.1 is the fourth-longest streak in the history of the WTA Tour, behind Germany’s Steffi Graf (186 weeks), American stalwart Serena Williams (186) and Czechoslovakian-American great Martina Navratilova (156). Barty’s 121 total weeks as the top ranked player are No.7 in the all-time list.
“It’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud and, yeah, it’s hard to say,” an emotional Barty told former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua in an interview, according to wtatennis.com. “But I’m so happy, and I’m so ready.
A professional player quitting so early is rare but Barty said that she no longer has the “physical drive” to continue playing the sport.
“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent.”
The Australian leaves with a stellar set of credentials, including three major singles titles on three different surfaces. In all, she collected 15 titles in singles and 12 in doubles — more than any other active player in that span, according to WTA.
Across all levels of play, Barty produced a 305-102 record in singles and a 200-64 record in doubles, earning a career prize money of USD23,829,071.
“I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself,” Barty said. “I’ve said it to my team multiple times — ‘I just don’t have that in me anymore.’ Physically, I have nothing more to give. I’ve given absolutely everything I have to this beautiful sport of tennis, and I’m really happy with that. For me, that is my success.”
WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said, “With her accomplishments at the Grand Slams, WTA Finals and reaching the pinnacle ranking of No.1 in the world, she has clearly established herself as one the great champions of the WTA.
“We wish Ash only the very best and know that she will continue to be a tremendous ambassador for the sport of tennis as she embarks on this new chapter of her life. We will miss her.”