For the ones here not into sports, Ashleigh Barty is a 25-year-old Australian who is also World No. 1 and a three-time tennis major champion. She shocked the world when she announced yesterday that she was leaving the game.
“I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself … I don’t have that in me anymore,” she said in a video posted on her Instagram on Wednesday. “I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level any more. I am spent.”
“Ash Barty the person has so many dreams she wants to chase after that don’t necessarily involve traveling the world, being away from my family, being away from my home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be,” she said in the video, interviewed by her close friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua.
“I’ll never, ever stop loving tennis. It’s been a massive part of my life. But I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next part of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete.”
“Happy for @ashbarty, gutted for tennis,” tweeted Briton Andy Murray, former men’s World No. 1. “What a player.”
Twice Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Simona Halep said Barty’s announcement left her with tears in her eyes. “Ash, what can I say, you know I have tears right? My friend, I will miss you on tour,” Halep said on Twitter. “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.”
“You are leaving the tennis and sports world quite speechless and full of praise at the same time,” Martina Navratilova tweeted. “Enjoy this chapter of your life after tennis – we will miss you, your smile and your beautiful game. Be happy champ, the Hall of Fame is waiting!”
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