Months after walking away at the top of the tennis world, Ash Barty had shed more light on her reasons behind her abrupt retirement from the sport.
Barty is releasing her memoir, My Dream Time, later this year in which she discusses her incredible run to victory at Wimbledon in 2021, and the decision that led her to follow up that triumph at the 2022 Australian Open.
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Retirement was on Barty's mind soon after winning Wimbledon, with Barty describing a grand slam victory on the famous All England grass courts as 'the single thing I wanted my whole career'.
Despite this, Barty told Newscorp that her motivation had been uncharacteristically waning in the months prior to Wimbledon.
The former World No.1 once quit on a fitness session halfway through in a moment she described as a'red flag'.
That didn't stop Barty from winning at Wimbledon, but she instantly knew something had changed in the aftermath.
"After that feat, in June 2021, the fire died inside," Barty said.
In her memoir, previewed by Newscorp, Barty wrote at that time that she felt changed by the triumph.
“I don’t know what I’m playing for anymore. I think I’m done,” she wrote in My Dream Time.
“I have got nothing left, no spark.”
It was at this time Barty discussed retiring with her inner circle - coach Craig Tyzzer and now husband Gary Kissick among them - but she discovered she actually did have a little more left after settling on a decision to retire.
— 9News Queensland (@9NewsQueensland) October 28, 2022
The 2022 Australian Open would be her career swansong, a crushing run to the final where she outclassed Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6.
Unburdened from the uncertainty surrounding her future, Barty described feeling 'carefree' and 'cavalier' on the court on her way to becoming the first Australian woman in 44 years to win the home grand slam.
Ash Barty lifts lid on months leading up to tennis retirement
In the months following her retirement, Barty and Kissick married and have been spotted together at various golf courses.
Barty's fondness for golf triggered speculation she could once again switch sports, talk she has since hosed down several times.
“The last six or seven months of my life have been everything I have ever wanted," Barty told Newscorp.
"I’m loving the way my life is at the moment. I won’t even be estranged from the tennis world ... but I just won’t be out there for me.’’
She has been spotted on the golf course a number of times in recent months, playing in the Icons Series event in the United States and appearing at St Andrews to cheer on Cameron Smith at The Open Championship.
But in an interview with 101.9 The Fox Melbourne’s Fif, Fev and Nick back in July, Barty put the speculation firmly to bed and made the staggering revelation that she'll never play professional sport again.
“You guys just can’t accept that I don’t want to play professional sport anymore,” Barty said in response to a question from Brendan Fevola.
“I love golf, it’s a hobby of mine. It will not be my profession, I have no intention of making it my profession but I hack around once a week if I can - and I play off four.
“There’s no need, there’s no desire for me to play professional sport, particularly golf. I love it as a walk-around with my girlfriends and friends but yeah, not for me.”
When asked if she still would have retired if she lost the Australian Open final, Barty had no doubts.
“My decision was the same, I knew that was my last Australian Open and, in a way it freed me up to be more myself that I could have ever been in my life and just play completely with no consequence," she said.
"Go out there and enjoy it and play with real freedom and that in the end the helped me out a lot.”
This is so sad because Ashleigh Barty most talented female player of her generation. Ash has no rival. If another woman challenged her consistently I don't think Ash would quit. Rivals so important in tennis. Women tennis right now boring without Ash Barty.
— OrvilleLloydDouglas🇨🇦🏳️🌈 (@OrvilleLloyd) October 28, 2022
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