Wow. This is definitely worthy of an emergency post as the world number one Ash Barty announced her immediate retirement from tennis. Barty posted an emotional interview with Casey Dellacqua on her Instagram page on Wednesday. I woke up to the e-mail notification of the WTA statement on my phone and couldn’t process the information. My instant reaction was no! No! Nooo!
I’m still struggling to process to be honest as it was such a shock. I think Andy Murray’s tweet sums up it pretty well.
Selfishly, I am sad and I think it’s a huge loss for the sport. Barty was my favourite active player! I just loved the way she played. The backhand slice, the forehand, constructing points and playing them on her own terms. A tactical genius. The serve and how she proved it doesn’t matter how tall you are, you can still have a mean serve! That’s inspiring to me. Most importantly, it was the way she carried herself on and off the court, and the respect she held for her fellow players and that they clearly had for her which is clear from the outpouring of messages on social media.
As the news sinks in (it’s been on my mind all day) i’m going from the initial sadness and disappointment to feeling content because it’s clear from the video that this is the right decision for Barty. Ash has always done things her own way such as when she stepped away from the sport to prioritise her mental health. I don’t want this to come across as patronising but I think she is brave? Ash has always been on her own path, focusing on what is right for her, and has never taken any notice of what anyone might think. It’s pretty inspiring.
My favourite memories of Ash Barty. Definitely winning Wimbledon last year. The fact it came exactly 50 years after Evonne and that she was wearing an outfit in tribute. That Ash had stated very publicly that Wimbledon was the one she wanted to win. Also, she came into the tournament with a huge injury cloud, not even knowing if she was fit to compete. Her reaction to winning just showed how much it meant to her and I was so happy watching.
I’m grateful that I got to watch her live on the grass at Wimbledon, Eastbourne and Birmingham. I remember watching Ash at Birmingham in her first match after she won the French Open against Donna Vekic. I didn’t want the match to end because I just enjoyed watching her play! My favourite live Ash match was at the 2018 Australian Open, a wild one with Aryna Sabalenka before they had reached their peaks. Great memories.
And then one of my more obscure memories that came to me today was from Eastbourne in 2017, not long after she returned to the tour. Ash was in the doubles final with Casey Dellacqua. It was the final day and she was out practising on one of the courts behind Centre with few people watching. I just remember watching and taking some pictures. Ironically the picture below is the topspin backhand but she was practising slices too 🙂. It’s amazing how Ash’s career unfolded from there on.
All the best in whatever you do next, Ash. Thanks for all the memories and you will be sorely missed on the tour. A superstar 😎.
6 thoughts on “Ash Barty retires”
I think she is incredibly brave and wise. She is not affected by environment and society. She listens to herself, to her gut feeling, and does things on her own terms, as you said. I believe that is a recipe for success. Life has incredible ways of awarding you when you stay on your own, unique path. I am wishing Ash all the best in the next phase of her life! What a personality! What a champion! Truly inspiring.
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Nicely said, Marija 🙂
Despite all the understandable respect shown to Ashleigh Barty by the media and in the public’s response, I think a lot of people are still left wondering why someone would retire at the height of their powers. Nothing I’ve heard or read since she made her announcement has come close to answering this question.
I suppose, fundamentally, I don’t under why, as she said, she no longer has the physical and emotional drive to carry on playing professional tennis.
I mean, she has form. She retired from tennis once already, afterall. And she’s been content with taking extended breaks from the game since then too. Perhaps she wants to have a child with her fiancée? Maybe she just wants a different challenge, having accomplished what she set out to accomplish in tennis?
I’m very sad to see her go but grateful that we got to see her play at this level. She’s had a fairly substantial impact on the way the women’s game is played – we are seeing more and more players use guile and variety in constructing points. She was also a very classy, positive and open figure. I will greatly miss watching her play.
That’s a good point, I think Ash has had a big impact on women’s tennis and i’m sure we will see that in the years to come too. It’s clear that the other players have a great amount of respect for Ash.
Personally I don’t think it’s our duty to understand why. I think your last comment though is probably the case. Everyone is on their path and Ash has always done things a bit differently. As sad as I am and it feels selfish on my behalf because I enjoy watching Ash play, I got a sense from the video that Ash is happy and content.