'It hit home for me': Ash Barty's coach drops stunning truth bomb
Ash Barty's coach has made the stunning admission that he wasn't at all shocked by her sudden retirement from the sport after revealing that the Aussie wanted to walk away from tennis in 2019.
Craig Tyzzer joined Barty to answer questions on Thursday, as Australia's media searched for more answers on a bombshell announcement 24 hours earlier that left the world stunned.
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Barty's long-time coach said while Wednesday's news may have come as a surprise to most, he could see the writing on the wall for quite some time.
Tyzzer revealed that after Barty realised her childhood dream of winning the Wimbledon title in 2021, he noticed a distinct change in her mindset in the lead-up to and during the Tokyo Olympic Games.
"Once we got to the Olympics it sort of hit home for me that there wasn't much left in her," Tyzzer told reporters on Thursday.
"The motivation wasn't there except when she played doubles with Storm (Sanders) and mixed with John Peers.
"The singles sort of went by the wayside. I sort of felt that she'd climbed where she needed to get to, and it was going to be a hard slog to keep her involved.
"I sort of felt it (her retirement) was coming and we’d sort of discussed things."
In another extraordinary revelation, Tyzzer went on to say that Barty initially brought up the idea of retiring after winning the 2019 French Open title.
“Ash probably remembers, even after her first grand slam (title), I had prepared this speech about how profound this was going to be and what it meant to her.
“The first thing she said to me was, ‘Can I retire now?’ And I said, ‘I’m not ready for that’"
“It’s not a shock for me, Ash does her own thing and when we started together she wanted to do it the way she wanted to do it.
"I think it's the right time (for her to retire), I think she won the Aussie Open for everyone, not just for her."
Barty reiterated the message from Wednesday's retirement video that she felt “spent” after the Australian Open, adding: “I didn’t feel quite as well as I would have liked”.
Winning an Australian Open wasn't essential though, Barty explaining she had "never been a prisoner" to the profession she had already walked away from once as a prodigious teenager.
"The Australian public allowed me to be myself. They allowed me to make mistakes. They allowed me to be imperfect," she said.
"It really did make that Australian Open so much more enjoyable for all of us to be able to go 'you know what, this is one last crack, let's see what we can do'.
"It was really cool."
Ash Barty remains coy on future plans
Barty revealed a wedding date with fiance Garry Kissick had been set but remained coy on her next professional move.
Speculation continues to mount about what Barty's future plans might entail, with Aussie tennis icon and good friend Rennae Stubbs saying she wouldn't be surprised seeing Barty have a crack at another sport - having also played professional cricket for the Brisbane Heat in the WBBL.
“Tennis doesn’t make her happy anymore - the travel, the grind, the practice, all of it. She wants to move on to something else,” Stubbs told Channel 7’s Sunrise.
“Don’t be surprised if we see her walk down the fairway of an LPGA (golf) event.
“We know she can play cricket, we know that she’s basically a scratch golfer... she can kick a footy and can probably walk on for an AFLW team.
“I think she’s got a few things up her sleeve that she wants to achieve.
“And she’s young enough and smart enough (to make the change).”
Barty dropped a big hint about her retirement as far back as the Australian Open in January, after being asked whether her grand slam triumph at Melbourne Park would change her plans for 2022.
“There was a massive emphasis on this in January. We made the decision as a team in September last year that we wanted to stop, take a breath and really prepare ourselves for the best possible January,” Barty said at the time.
“You can always look back in hindsight and go that was a good decision. That’s what we wanted to do. But I think all in all, it’s just been an incredible month of enjoyment and of tennis.
“To be able to take myself to new levels on the court and enjoy everything that comes with it was really cool. I think it’s going to be really important now for us to take stock and genuinely draw a line in the sand and go, ‘ok, we get to celebrate a really, really incredible achievement, celebrate the people that were there with us and then refocus for what’s next’.
“I’m so excited for my next chapter and for what comes next.
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