Ash Barty, the first woman to win the Australian Open since 1977, has announced she is retiring from tennis.
The 25-year-old shared the shock announcement via an Instagram video, where she spoke to her beloved friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua.
In the caption, Barty wrote: “I wasn’t sure how to share this news with you so I asked my good friend @caseydellacqua to help me. I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I’ll always be grateful for the lifelong memories that we created together.”
She ended the post with a single line: “More to come tomorrow at my press conference.”
In the emotional video, which you can view above, Barty tells Dellacqua through tears: “I wasn’t quite sure of how I was gonna do this.
“It’s hard to say… I’m so happy and I’m so ready. I just know at the moment in my heart for me as a person this is right.”
She added: “And I’m so grateful to everything that tennis has given me. It’s given me all of my dreams possible but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams. And yeah, and to put the racquets down.”
The unexpected announcement comes after Barty won the Australian Open womens championship in January this year, as well as taking out Wimbledon in 2021—the first Australian woman to do so in 41 years.
Barty is the current world Number One women’s singles player, the second Australian woman to achieve the feat in history after Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who ruled the game in the 70s.
Barty and Goolagong Cawley’s relationship has been an extremely special element to the new tennis star’s success.
Goolagong Cawley became her mentor almost 10 years ago as the up-and-coming player started to pave an impressive winning streak in the Australian—and then global—tennis circuit.
“Evonne Goolagong Cawley is a very special person in my life. I think she has been iconic in paving a way for young Indigenous youth to believe in their dreams and to chase their dreams. She’s done exactly that for me as well,” Ash told marie claire Australia last year.
As for what the future holds, Barty has nothing but bright things ahead—tennis or no tennis. She’s now engaged to her longtime partner, Gary Kissick, and the pair will no doubt have plenty of special milestones to celebrate ahead.
Barty’s undeniable charisma will also take her far, there’s no doubt about that. So while we’re sad to see her go, we have no doubt this won’t be the last we see of her.
Game, set, and brilliant match, Barty.