Tennis superstar Ash Barty has opened up about life following her shock retirement nine months after her historic win at the Australian Open, saying she is “comfortable” with her choice to walk away from the sport.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, the 26-year-old Queensland tennis champ admitted she was “surprised” about how content she feels in retirement.
“To be honest, I think what has surprised me most is how comfortable I’ve been,” Barty told the publication.
“I think there was probably a normal fear or uncertainty in not knowing what my life would look like after tennis after being so focused.
“I was a bit unsure how I would deal with that because I am a person who likes to be organised.
“There was probably a little bit of fear in that, but overall, that hasn’t been an issue, a concern or a worry.
“What’s been surprising in a good way is that I’ve slipped quite seamlessly into this life that’s just like everyone else, which is kind of always what I wanted.”
Rumours had previously swirled regarding Barty’s potential return to professional sports after she had won a women’s golfing tournament held in Queensland in April 2022.
However, Barty officially set the record straight in July 2022, stating that golf is definitely not in the cards for her.
“You guys just can’t accept that I don’t want to play professional sport anymore,” she told 101.9 The Fox Melbourne’s Fif, Fev and Nick.
“There’s no need, there’s no desire for me to play professional sport, particularly golf. I love it as a walkaround with my girlfriends and friends but yeah, not for me.”
Despite having “no desire” to become a professional athlete again, the former tennis pro did tell The New York Times that she still plans on getting her “tennis fix”, revealing that she was setting up an academy for young Aussie players alongside former coaches Craig Tyzzer and Jason Stoltenberg.
“The more time I’ve had to sit and think and absorb this year, I think it is never in the sense of me competing professionally again,” Barty said.
“But I’ll never not be involved in this sport.
“So I think that’s where I’ll always get my tennis fix, that taste of the sport that gave me so much.”
But despite having bid farewell to her competitive sporting career, Barty is still bringing home the hardware, having once again made history after being awarded tennis’ highest honour, the coveted Newcombe Medal, for a record fifth year in a row.
The highly sought-after award recognises those who have acted as positive ambassadors for the sport while celebrating their stellar achievements on the court.
It was her impressive performance at the Australian Open last year where she became the first Australian in 44 years to win an Australian Open women’s singles title in addition to her many singles and doubles titles that secured her the honour.