Ash Barty's father fuels major theory about sporting code switch
It took barely an hour or two between when Ash Barty stunned the world with her sudden retirement announcement, and when the betting markets opened up about which sport the Aussie champion would play next.
After all, the 25-year-old's sporting exploits are already legendary, having played professional cricket for the Brisbane Heat in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL), as well as winning a women's golf championship at Queensland's Brookwater Golf Club in 2020.
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That's of course aside from Barty's three grand slam titles, 15 WTA Tour singles and 12 doubles titles, plus an Olympic bronze medal among numerous other feats on the tennis court.
Barty has earned a staggering $31,920,112 across her tennis career, making her the 14th highest-earning female tennis player in history.
But while Barty revealed to reporters on Thursday that a wedding date with fiancé Garry Kissick had been set, she remained coy on what her next professional move entailed.
Aussie tennis icon and good friend Rennae Stubbs said she was tipping Barty's next sporting foray to be into the world of professional golf.
Curiously, the 25-year-old's father Rob Barty - himself a former state amateur golfer like wife Josie - has fulled the speculation even further.
“She’s too good. She can beat me. She’s the best golfer in the house,” Rob Barty told AAP.
“She plays off a three handicap around Brookwater (in Brisbane) and plays a couple of times a year.
“I don’t know what she’s going to do to be honest, but I know she gets a lot of enjoyment out of golf so I think she’ll play (more).
“But I don’t know what she’ll do (professionally).”
Ash Barty keeps Australia guessing on next move
Barty has spoken before about being from a golfing family and it was at her local Brookwater club where she first met her fiancé six years ago, while Kissick was a trainee pro and PGA planner at the course.
The tennis champion's victory in the A grade club championship at Brookwater in 2020 came via a commanding seven-and-five win in the match play final, during a period in Barty's tennis career severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Louis Dobbelaar - who won the men's club championship that same year - said he's certain Barty has what it takes to play golf professionally if she so chooses.
“She’s got all the tools if she wants to pursue it. If she put her mind to it, I’m sure she could,” Dobbelaar told AAP.
“I’ve seen quite a lot of golfers come from different sports and she’s the one that stands out the most - by far actually.
“Her ball-striking’s really good. She just gets that naturally from tennis, the hand-eye stuff.”
Barty was pressed by journalists on Thursday about whether a crack at professional golf might be on the cards, but the 25-year-old gave nothing away.
“We’ll wait and see,” Barty said.
“I’ve got to try and learn how to hit the middle of the club face before I can think of trying to get on the Tour.”
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