Sporting superstar Ash Barty is quite literally turning a page in her professional life after revealing she is set to produce a series of children’s books following her surprise retirement from tennis.
Following weeks of speculation as to what the former No. 1’s next career move would be, Barty has confirmed to The Courier Mail that her six-book Little Ash series will be available to purchase in July 2022. The series is written and illustrated by First Nations creatives Jasmin McGaughey and Jade Goodwin and is published by HarperCollins, who described the series as a story “about school, sport, friendship and family.”
“This project has been so much fun and something I have always wanted to do,” Barty said.
Barty loosely based some of the stories in the series on her own experience and was inspired to undertake the creative endeavor by her five year old niece, Lucy.
“Lucy was my North Star. She is the perfect age to understand stories and storylines and read chapter books,” she said.
“I just love the fact she tells me what she thinks and what she feels and how she feels when she is reading a book. Being able to read it to her will be great and to go up to readings to kids in rural areas is something I want to be really hands on with.’’
Barty’s decision to trade the tennis court for the writer’s room has surprised many after rumours circulated that Barty may return to playing cricket or even take up golf professionally.
Ash’s father, Robert Barty, recently revealed to AAP that Ash is quite an impressive golf player.
“She’s too good. She can beat me. She’s the best golfer in the house,” he said.
When asked what his daughter’s next moves were, he admitted at the time that he wasn’t sure but that golf could quite possibly be her next sporting endeavor.
“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),” he said.“
But I don’t know what she’ll do (professionally).”
Barty has also previously tried her hand at cricket, signing with the Brisbane Heat for the annual Big Bash League season in 2015.
Barty’s former cricket coach at Queensland Cricket, Dave Richards, described her as “extraordinary”, praising her incredible work ethic and fierce drive to continually do better.
“She had told me she had played a little bit of backyard cricket growing up and the odd game for her school, so I wasn’t expecting too much. But she must have played and missed less than five times, if at all, throughout that session,” Richards said.
“I’ve been coaching cricket for a long, long time and I genuinely don’t think I had been as excited watching someone play, essentially for the first time.”
Ash Barty sent shockwaves through the world of tennis after announcing her retirement from the sport at just 25 years old.
Alongside her former doubles partner, Casey Dellacqua, the World No.1 took to Instagram to announce the move on Wednesday, March 23, telling fans “today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis.”
“I wasn’t sure how to share this news with you so I asked my good friend @caseydellacqua to help me. I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I’ll always be grateful for the lifelong memories that we created together,” she said.
View this post on Instagram
Barty began playing tennis at the age of four. She was the second Australian tennis player to be ranked No. 1 in the world in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association and is also a three-time Grand Slam singles champion.