Ash Barty's big career announcement amid return to Australian Open

The Aussie tennis champion has revealed her next career move before returning to the scene of her Australian Open triumph.

Ash Barty, pictured here making her return to the Australian Open for kids day.
Ash Barty made her return to the Australian Open for kids day. Image: Getty

Ash Barty has announced her next career move ahead of the Australian Open, forming a partnership with Tennis Australia that will see her mentor players and coaches from the governing body's development pathway. The Aussie tennis champion announced her shock retirement last March, and revealed last month that she's expecting her first child with husband Garry Kissick.

But that doesn't mean she's leaving tennis forever, with Tennis Australia revealing the new partnership with Barty that will see her foster the next wave of local talent. Barty's former coaches Craig Tyzzer and Jason Stoltenberg will also be involved in the program.

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"Supporting the next generation of tennis talent is something I am very passionate about," Barty said. "I'm so excited to be able to work with two people who have been instrumental in my career, Tyzz and Stolts, to give back to the sport I love. This is only the beginning of our partnership and we hope that over time we can make a positive difference to young Australian players."

The arrangement will see Barty, Tyzzer and Stoltenberg passing their knowledge and experience on to players and coaches of all ages in the development pathway at events and training opportunities over the next 12 months. Tennis Australia said Barty's values and philosophies will feature prominently in their performance environment.

"We are extremely excited to be able to work with Ash, Craig and Jason to utilise the depth and experience of one of our greatest tennis champions in our performance pathway," TA chief strategy and performance officer Timothy Jolley said. "So many of our young players have been inspired by what Ash was able to achieve on court, and her work ethic, professionalism and way she conducted herself on court is something we hope we can instil within our performance environment."

Barty has already been mentoring young Queensland player Olivia Gadecki and will be in her camp when she debuts at the Australian Open. Barty has been helping Gadecki for several years, with the Queenslanders often sharing a hit together on the Gold Coast.

"I've been really fortunate to always be able to contact her if I have any questions or if I need advice, she's always been there for me," Gadecki told AAP in December. "The best part is she just treats me like a normal person and we can relate in that regard and off court is just as important as on court."

Gadecki said Barty's experience of dealing with pressure and expectation from a young age would be vital for her, as well as the three-time major winner's professionalism. She added: "Just her application. She's just really good at being consistent with everything she goes about."

Iga Swiatek and Ash Barty, pictured here sharing the court during the Australian Open kids day.
Iga Swiatek and Ash Barty share the court during the Australian Open kids day. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Ash Barty makes fun return to Australian Open

Barty became the first Aussie to win the Australian Open in 44 years last year, beating Danielle Collins in the final. While she won't be playing this year, she did return to Rod Laver Arena on Saturday for the Australian Open kids' day.

The 26-year-old joined World No.1 Iga Swiatek, two-time champion Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, Nick Kyrgios, Sam Stosur, Storm Hunter and Heath Davidson on the court for some entertaining displays. “This is unreal. I didn’t think I’d be back on this beautiful court so soon," she said. "This is incredible, so much fun. It is very, very nice to be back."

Barty added: “Excited to be back on the court that brought so many great memories. I often think of when I played on this court that there were so many kids here enjoying it.

“To look today, to see so many absolutely filling it, it’s brilliant. Hopefully we can have some fun.”

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