Pat Rafter spills staggering secret about Ash Barty after retirement

Aussie tennis legend Pat Rafter has lifted the lid on a secret feud between Ash Barty and her Australian Open final opponent.

Pat Rafter, pictured here revealing tension between Ash Barty and Danielle Collins.
Pat Rafter has revealed tension between Ash Barty and Danielle Collins. Image: Getty

Pat Rafter has spilled the beans on an apparent feud between Ash Barty and Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins. Barty became the first Aussie in 44 years to win the Australian Open when she beat American star Collins in the final in January.

Barty staged an extraordinary comeback from 5-1 down in the second set to beat Collins 6-3 7-6, becoming the first Australian winner of the grand slam since Chris O'Neil in 1978. It would end up being the final match of Barty's career after she announced her retirement from the sport just three months later.

'MAKES ME SAD': Tennis fans react to Nick Kyrgios bombshell

'ALREADY IS': Ash Barty's staggering call on Ajla Tomljanovic

In a staggering twist, Aussie legend Rafter has now revealed the tension that existed between Barty and Collins. Speaking in Brisbane on Tuesday ahead of the new United Cup, Rafter said there was 'no love lost' between the pair.

“I knew with her and Danielle, they had a bit of a … what’s the word - there was no love lost anyway,” Rafter told The Australian. “Danielle’s pretty feisty. And Ash didn’t want to lose to her.”

Rafter said it was strange that Barty wasn't playing professional tennis anymore and said he hopes she will backflip on her retirement one day. “I enjoyed watching her. It was the one match that I’d always turn on to watch,” he said.

“It’s been a year without Ash nearly, so we’re slowly getting over it. She obviously showed who she is and the person she is and she’s had a really great year sitting on the sidelines and there is certainly no desire from her to come back to tennis - although we all secretly hope she will."

Danielle Collins and Ash Barty, pictured here with their trophies alongside Evonne Goolagong Cawley after the Australian Open final.
Danielle Collins and Ash Barty pose with their trophies alongside Evonne Goolagong Cawley after the Australian Open final. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Pat Rafter weighs in on dramas around Nick Kyrgios

The United Cup is effectively a revival of the old Hopman Cup, which was controversially axed in 2019 in favour of the men-only ATP Cup. The United Cup will see the world's best men and women team up in a mixed gender event starting on December 29.

The event will mark the first time Nick Kyrgios will represent Australia at a team tournament since 2019. He has controversially opted out of the Davis Cup for the last three years and also skipped the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Team captain Lleyton Hewitt and star player Alex de Minaur both revealed they tried to get Kyrgios to play this year's Davis Cup finals in Malaga. However Kyrgios said he was unlikely to play Davis Cup due to a 'lack of respect' towards him from the Australian public.

"He will have to work out how he goes about all that. I don't really know what goes on with him," Rafter said of Kyrgios' return to the national fold at the United Cup.

Pat Rafter, pictured here speaking to the media ahead of the United Cup in Brisbane.
Pat Rafter speaks to the media ahead of the United Cup in Brisbane. (Photo by Glenn Hunt/Getty Images for Tennis Australia)

"I just sit back and watch it, see what comes out and have a bit of a laugh. Because I am not involved in it and don't need to be, I really enjoy sitting back now and not have to say or do anything.

"You've got to want to be there. If you don't, you don't just let down yourself, you let down the team. Obviously you have got Lleyton there running the show. All our generation wanted to be there and play. We loved it. Some people don't like it."

Asked if he was aware of any falling out between Kyrgios and Hewitt, Rafter said: "That I don't know. They are together here (at the United Cup). They have been together before in Davis Cup. He is captain again. We will wait and see what happens but it could work. It is going to be interesting."

Rafter said time would tell if Kyrgios returned to the Davis Cup in 2023. He added: "You've got to have the buy-in with the players and Lleyton as well. Lleyton has to work out how he wants to structure his team and how he wants it all to evolve.

"(Kyrgios) will dictate his results. He will dictate who he is. He will dictate how he fits in with the Australian personality and persona of taking him on. That is up to him."

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.