World No1 Ashleigh Barty announced her retirement from professional tennis on Tuesday, a month shy of her 26th birthday.
“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.
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“But I’m so happy, and I’m so ready.
“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.”
You did it your way, Ash 👋
So proud of your accomplishments and how you have represented Australia on the world stage 💙 @ashbarty pic.twitter.com/WgNbFsOgxO
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) March 23, 2022
The Australian’s shock decision came after a stretch where she won 25 of her last 26 matches and won the title at three of her last four tournaments.
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Barty’s most recent triumph at the Australian Open will likely be remembered as her most impactful victory as she became the first Australian to win the title at her home Grand Slam event in 44 years, and without dropping a set.
Happy for @ashbarty gutted for tennis 🎾 what a player❤️
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2022
“I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself,” Barty said.
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“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.”
Since beginning her professional tennis career in 2010, Barty collected 15 singles titles and 12 doubles titles on Tour, the only player to win 15 or more singles titles and 10 or more doubles titles in that time frame.
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The 25-year-old won three Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces – 2019 Roland-Garros, 2021 Wimbledon and the 2022 Australian Open.
She spent 121 total weeks atop the WTA Rankings, highlighting her illustrious career.
An incredible tennis player but more importantly one of the nicest people on tour ♥️
Congratulations @ashbarty on an amazing career and good luck with what’s next! pic.twitter.com/Mhwzyf6nbX
— Madison Keys (@Madison_Keys) March 23, 2022
Barty becomes the second reigning World No.1 ranked woman to retire while gracing the top of the WTA Rankings, as Justine Henin retired on May 14, 2008, after spending 61 consecutive weeks at No.1.
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After a two-year hiatus from tennis (2014-16), Barty returned to the Tour full-time in 2017.
Ash, what can I say, you know I have tears right? My friend, I will miss you on tour. You were different, and special, and we shared some amazing moments. What's next for you? Grand Slam champion in golf?! Be happy and enjoy your life to the max xo Simo@ashbarty pic.twitter.com/WbX7kXnJ1l
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) March 23, 2022
During the next five years, Barty posted a 188-56 record at Tour-level events for a 77.0% match win percentage. Only Serena Williams (79-22, 78.2%) owned a higher percentage in the last five years.
Across all-levels of play, Barty posted a 305-102 record in singles and a 200-64 record in doubles.