West News Wire: Ashleigh Barty, the world’s best female tennis player, has shocked the sport by announcing her early retirement at the age of only 25.

“Today is a sad and emotional day for me as I announce my retirement from tennis,” she stated in an Instagram video.

After becoming Australia’s first home-grown Australian Open winner in 44 years and winning a Grand Slam tournament on three different surfaces, the Australian is retiring from the sport.

Barty has 15 victories to his name, including Wimbledon on grass and the French Open on clay.

“I understand how much effort it takes to bring out the best in oneself. In the video, she says, “I don’t have that in me any longer.”

“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level any more. I am spent.”

Barty previously walked away from the game as a teenager in late 2014 after becoming disaffected by the Tour.

She returned in 2016 and rose rapidly through the rankings, earning global acclaim for her brilliant tennis and winning the affection of fans for her unfailing sportsmanship.

She spent a total of 121 weeks as the world’s best and appeared destined for more success.

“Thank you for being an incredible ambassador for this sport and for women around the world,” the Women’s Tennis Association tweeted.  “We will miss you so much, Ash.”

Barty made no secret of her dislike for the touring life and her battles with homesickness.

“Ash Barty, the person, has so many dreams she wants to chase after that don’t necessarily involve travelling the world, being away from my family, being away from my home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be,” she said on Instagram where she was speaking to her close friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua.

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“I’ll never, ever stop loving tennis, it’s been a massive part of my life, but I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next part of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic halted elite tennis in 2020, Barty took nearly a year off from the game to spend time with family rather than rejoin the circuit after it resumed.

“I know I’ve done this before, but in a different feeling,” she said.


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