Ashleigh Barty, world number 1 tennis player, unexpectedly retires

“Today is a difficult and emotional day for me. I’m happy, I’m ready, and I know right now in my heart that as a person, this is the right thing to do.” With those words, Ashleigh Barty surprised the world by retiring from professional tennis at the age of 25 and at the height of her performance, as she has been number one in the WTA world ranking for 114 weeks.

The Australian revealed her goodbye through her Instagram account and without giving further explanations about her reasons, more than just words of gratitude to tennis and the fans: “I am very grateful for everything that this sport has given me, making me feel very complete and proud; Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this path. More information will come in my lecture tomorrow,” she wrote in her March 22 evening post.

Barty is retiring after 12 years on the professional tennis circuit in which she won 15 singles titles and 12 doubles titles, the only one in history with a resume that big in that span. Among her most notable victories are three Grand Slams: Roland Garros 2019, Wimbledon 2021 and Australian Open 2022, as well as the 2019 WTA Finals.

Her retirement comes at a special time for her and her country, as she comes off a streak in which she has won 25 of her last 26 matches and was champion in three of her last four tournaments, the most recent being the Australian Open on which provoked the strongest reactions in her nation for being the first Australian to win the local Grand Slam in 44 years and without losing a single set.

His power was demonstrated in several seasons. She rose to the top of the WTA ranking for the first time on June 24, 2019 and held that position for 114 consecutive weeks, the fourth longest streak in tour history behind Steffi Graf (186), Serena Williams (186 ) and Martina Navratilova (156). Overall, Barty has held the #1 spot for 121 weeks, the seventh-most in history.

With the reigning position active, Barty becomes the second world No. 1 woman to retire while at the top after Belgian Justine Henin, who said goodbye on May 14, 2008, after spending 61 consecutive weeks in the position. honorary.

The Australian finished the last three years as No. 1, between 2019 and 2021, during which time she was also voted WTA Player of the Year twice by international media, first in 2019, when she won her first Grand Slam and the Billie Jean King Trophy in the Finals. In 2021 she earned her second Player of the Year honor after winning five singles titles and leading the tour. Overall, Barty signs off with a record of 305-102 in singles and 200-64 in doubles.

Although Ashleigh did not specify the reasons for her retirement, it is worth mentioning that between 2014 and 2016 she paused her participation in the maximum circuit, accusing mental health problems. It wasn’t until 2019 when she revealed that she had previously been struggling to cope with the pressure of being touted as Australia’s next big sporting star after winning the Wimbledon junior crown at just 15 years old. So one form of therapy that got him through those pressures was getting into professional cricket.

“For me, it was just being aware of my mental health (…) Everyone is different, everyone is unique. I can’t sit here and tell people how they should find their way in life. It is his decision, ”Barty reflected at the time.

Following her abrupt farewell, Steve Simon, President and CEO of the WTA, stated: “Ashleigh Barty, with her trademark slice backhand, coupled with being the best competitor, has always led by example through the unwavering professionalism and sportsmanship she contributed to each match. She with her achievements has clearly established herself as one of the great champions of the WTA. We wish her the best and know that she will continue to be a great ambassador for the sport of tennis as she embarks on this new chapter in her life. We’ll miss you”.

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