Ash Barty’s sudden retirement from tennis at 25

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(FILES) This file photo taken on January 7, 2022 shows Australian Ashleigh Barty celebrating after defeating Sofia Kenin of the US at the Adelaide International WTA women's singles tennis tournament in Adelaide. - Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty shocked the tennis world by announcing her retirement from the sport on March 23, 2022 at the age of just 25. (Photo by BRENTON EDWARDS / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --

The Aussie champion announced the news in an Instagram post on Wednesday, as she uploaded a video of her chatting to former doubles partner and good friend Casey Dellacqua.

“Today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis,” Barty wrote on social media. “I wasn’t sure how to share this news with you so I asked my good friend @caseydellacqua to help me.

“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 that we created together.

“More to come tomorrow at my press conference.”

Barty’s decision to walk away from tennis has stunned the world. She leaves less than two months after winning the Australian Open — her third grand slam crown following titles at the French Open (2019) and Wimbledon (2021).

The Australian favourite retired once earlier in her career, quitting to play professional cricket. But she rediscovered her love for tennis and made an incredible comeback, storming to No. 1 in the world.

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Barty became emotional when talking to Dellacqua to announce her huge decision on Wednesday.

“It’s hard to say, but 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,” Barty said.

“I know I’ve done this (retired) before but in a very different feeling and I am so grateful to everything that tennis has given me.

“It’s given me all of my dreams, plus more, but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down.”

When asked “why now?” Barty said achieving major goals of winning Wimbledon and the Australian Open within six months of each other convinced her the time was right to pursue other dreams.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments,” Barty said.

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“Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and for me as an athlete when you work so hard your whole life for one goal, and I’ve been able to share that with so many incredible people.

“But to be able to win Wimbledon, which was my dream — the one, true dream I wanted in tennis — that really changed my perspective. I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it.

“There was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, wasn’t quite fulfilled. And then came the challenge of the Australian Open.

“That for me just feels like the perfect way — my perfect way — to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.

“As a person, this is what I want. I want to chase after some other dreams that I’ve always wanted to do, and always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really, really excited.”