It’s no secret that Ash Barty’s sporting talents extend beyond tennis.
So when the Australian champion dropped the bombshell announcement she was retiring to “chase other dreams” on Wednesday, speculation about whether she would tackle another sport began.
It was just over two years ago that Barty stunned American golfing great Tiger Woods at an exhibition event.
“She’s got a great swing, are you kidding me?” Woods exclaimed after Barty lofted a wedge into the Yarra River.
Barty went on to win her first ever competitive tournament, the Brookwater club’s women’s championship, in 2020.
Two-time Queensland amateur champion Louis Dobbelaar, who won the men’s club championship the same day, was asked whether Barty could turn professional.
“She’s got all the tools if she wants to pursue it. If she put her mind to it, I’m sure she could,” he responded.
“I’ve seen quite a lot of golfers come from different sports and she’s the one that stands out the most, by far actually.”
Barty’s love for golf also played an important role in her love life. She first met fiance Garry Kissick at the Brookwater Golf and Country Club in 2016.
Upon announcing her retirement from tennis, American golfer Nelly Korda commented on Barty’s Instagram post that it was “time to hit the links!”.
Fellow American golfer Justin Thomas also said it was “time for more (golf emoji)”.
Speaking to Australian Golf Digest last year, Barty explained the sport came quite naturally to her and if there was any sport in the family genes, it was probably golf.
Her father represented Australia as an amateur golfer in the 1980s, but decided not to pursue a professional career, and Barty said her mum was also a “very, very good golfer”.
“It’s funny listening to other golfers suggest I could turn pro at golf if I committed to it. It was always something I joked about with my uncle when I used to muck around and play with him,” she said.
“He always said that he’d be my caddie on the LPGA Tour, but no, I think for me, two sports is enough. Tennis is obviously the focus and cricket was a bit of fun, but golf for me is a hobby.”