Tennis icon Ash Barty has shared her thoughts on the remarkable journey that has taken her from the pinnacle of Grand Slam victories to the joyful realms of motherhood.
Barty sent shockwaves through the world of tennis when she took to Instagram in March 2022 to announce to her adoring fans that she was stepping away from the sport.
As Barty settled into retirement she delighted fans across the country in 2023 when she joyfully announced the birth of her first child.
At the time, Barty took to Instagram to announce the exciting news with an adorable picture of the little bundle of joy, a “beautiful boy” named Hayden.
Now, during a recent appearance at a tennis clinic for school children, Barty reflected on how much her life has changed since her son Hayden came into the world.
“He’s [Hayden] been a very good boy, very kind to me as I’m learning,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s amazing how quickly it’s all gone, how much my life has changed but how natural it all feels. It’s hard – the hardest thing I’ve ever done – but it’s incredible, too.
“An amazing thing. And it’s probably helped me appreciate my own mother, and my two sisters as well, in how they’re raising their own children.”
Despite enjoying an extraordinary tennis career herself, Barty humbly admitted uncertainty about whether her 3-month-old son, Hayden, would someday tread the same courts she once conquered.
“I don’t know yet,” she revealed.
“He’s three-and-a-half months old. But he’s got a tiny little toy racquet and a rattle shaped like a tennis ball.”
While the prospect of a potential tennis career for Hayden remains uncertain, Barty clarified that she harbours no aspirations for a return to the court herself.
Content with her life as it is, she gracefully distances herself from the trend of post-baby comebacks observed among some of her peers in the professional tennis world.
“A day like today – a court packed with schoolkids, faces lit up, big smiles, chaos, balls going everywhere, and seeing them all hot and sweaty at the end – is absolutely more than I need for my fix of tennis,” she said.
“It feels so much more worthy, and it feels like a greater contribution. Aside from getting out and rallying with my nieces and nephew, throwing balls at them, this is all I need. This is magic.”