Sydney– The tennis world on Wednesday sent its wishes to world No.1 women’s player Ashleigh Barty, who announced her retirement, barely a month away from her 26th birthday.
Barty won the French Open in 2019, the Wimbledon in 2021 and the Australian Open earlier this year, and her current reign of 114 consecutive weeks at No.1 is the fourth-longest streak in the history of the WTA Tour.
Barty said she didn’t have the physical drive to keep competing anymore.
“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent. I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself. I’ve said it to my team multiple times — ‘I just don’t have that in me anymore.’ Physically, I have nothing more to give. I’ve given absolutely everything I have to this beautiful sport of tennis, and I’m really happy with that. For me, that is my success,” said Barty.
Indian tennis stalwart and winner of multiple Grand Slam doubles titles, Sania Mirza, said, “What a legend @ashbarty… tennis will miss you… unbelievable role model on and off the court… good luck mate for this next phase #inspiration.”
Former world No. 1 Simona Halep of Romania tweeted, “Ash, what can I say, you know I have tears right? My friend, I will miss you on tour. You were different, and special, and we shared some amazing moments. What’s next for you? Grand Slam champion in golf?! Be happy and enjoy your life to the max xo Simo.”
Former world No.1 men’s tennis player Andy Murray said the tennis world would be gutted by Barty’s retirement.
“Happy for @ashbarty… gutted for tennis. what a player,” tweeted Murray.
American world No.26 player Madison Keys wrote on social media, “An incredible tennis player but more importantly one of the nicest people on tour. Congratulations @ashbarty on an amazing career and good luck with what’s next!”
Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova with whom Barty had a notable and friendly rivalry, tweeted, “Ash, I have no words… actually you are showing your true class leaving tennis in this beautiful way. I am so happy I could share the court with you… tennis will never be the same without you! I admire you as a player and a person… wishing you only the best!”
The two Grand Slam champions played each other 10 times, with six of those matches going three sets. Their head-to-head ended in a 5-5 deadlock.
Another Czech player, Karolina Pliskova tweeted, “Congrats on an incredible career Ash. It was a privilege to share a court with you. Wishing you all the best in your next chapter, @ashbarty. You will be missed.”
In her final event earlier this year, Barty became the first Australian to win the women’s singles title at the Australian Open since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
The Australian Open said it was proud of her achievements, tweeting, “You did it your way, Ash. So proud of your accomplishments and how you have represented Australia on the world stage @ashbarty.” (IANS)