For the second time in her short career, Ashleigh Barty has announced her retirement from tennis. The Australian is only 25 years old, and is currently ranked #1 in the world, and won the Australian Open a few short months ago.
Barty announced the retirement on her Instagram. She acknowledged that she has done this before, but said it feels different this time. Her first retirement came in late 2014, when she left and played cricket for a time.
Barty is undoubtedly retiring at the top of the sport. She has won three of the last nine Grand Slam tournaments, including two of the last three. She mentioned in her retirement video that she’s been considering it for a while, but winning Wimbledon last year let her step away, as that was her biggest dream, and once she achieved it she felt she could retire.
Of course, she didn’t stop there. She continued playing, and won the Australian Open this year. She called walking away after winning her home Slam the “perfect” way to end her time in the sport.
Barty is an all-court player who can dominate rallies from everywhere on the tennis court. She is most known, though, for her brutal slice backhand that no player in her years on tour was ever able to really deal with.
It’s always a shock when a top player retires. But Barty walking away when she’s at the absolute top of the game––World #1 and champion of two of the three most recent Majors–might be one of the more staggering moments in this sport’s recent history. It brings to mind Bjorn Borg, who retired while at the top of the game in 1984 (he was 28 years old). Barty will undoubtedly be missed, and I’m sure fans will wish her luck in the other dreams she says she wants to chase.
Main Photo from Getty.