Number one world champion Ash Barty shocked the world when she announced her surprise retirement from tennis earlier this year. Following her announcement, the world went wild speculating what her next move may be.
With rumours of Ash commencing career as a professional golfer circulating the web, the sporting legend has now revealed her next move.
Ash fans rejoice, because the Barty Party is far from over.
In a new interview with The Courier Mail, Ash confirmed that she’s stepping away from sports to pursue a “long held ambition”, going from one chapter to another… literally.
As per the publication, Ash will be releasing a series of children’s books with publisher HarpersCollins called ‘Little Ash’.
While not much about the six book franchise has been revealed, it’s been confirmed that writer Jasmin McGaughey and illustrator Jade Goodwin, both of whom are First Nations women, will be collaborating with Ash on the project.
According to The Courier Mail, the storylines will also take inspiration from Ash’s own life experience, particularly in the book ‘Lost Luck’ which sees little Ash “wake up on the wrong side of bed on the morning of a major tennis match”.
Ash also has plans to visit rural communities and read the book to “remind a generation of readers… of the joys and benefits of book-reading”.
While the shift to become an author may be unexpected for some, for Ash it’s the natural progression in her career. She told The Courier Mail that she’s inspired by award-winning children’s author Morris Gleitzman along with her five-year-old niece Lucy.
“Lucy was my North Star. She is the perfect age to understand stories and storylines and read chapter books,” Barty said.
“I just love the fact she tells me what she thinks and what she feels and how she feels when she is reading a book. Being able to read it to her will be great and to go up to readings to kids in rural areas is something I want to be really hands on with.’’
The three-time Grand Slam champion will also work with publishing house HarperCollins to write her memoir. Speaking on the upcoming life story, Ash said “it’s a tennis story, a family story, a teamwork story of how I got to where and who I am today”.
“At 25 it’s not super-regular that something like this happens but it is a very exciting project. Looking back and talking about it has brought me so much joy and heartache and pain but I think it will be a very good read,” the Olympian continued.
As for when we’ll see Ash back on the tennis court, the star revealed she only has plans to return to celebrate with her childhood coach Jim Joyce.
“I think we will pull up an Esky. Champagne might be too fancy for Jim and I but we will crack a beer and have a laugh,” Ash said.
The first of the ‘Little Ash’ series and her upcoming unnamed memoir will begin hitting shores in July.
In the meantime, head here to read marie claire’s round up of the best new Australian novels to read in 2022.