Ashleigh Barty set for a Wimbledon comeback – but it’s not all it seems

Kevin Palmer
Ashleigh Barty poses with the Venus Rosewater Dish at Wimbledon
Ashleigh Barty poses with her Wimbledon trophy

Former world No 1 Ashleigh Barty is set to make her return to a court at Wimbledon, but this will not be a prelude to a tennis comeback.

Barty is back at Wimbledon for the first time since she won the title at the All England Club in 2021, as she announced her retirement from tennis before she got a chance to defend her title.

Now Barty is set to play in an invitational event at Wimbledon this year, as former players compete in a tournament that has some attractive prize money on offer.

Yet the Aussie who became a mother for the first time last year is not planning a tennis return, even though she is only 28-years-old.

“The tournament invites you to play on one of the best courts in the world and I get an opportunity to play with my best mate – who would say no?” she told 7NEWS.

“It was a strange feeling walking through the gates again because it wasn’t memories that came up – the forehands or backhands or serves or the match point, it was the emotions that came with that moment. It’ll always be a massive part of my life.”

Former player Casey Dellacqua will play alongside Barty and she is also relishing the partnership with her close friend.

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“This is why I love tennis, because it doesn’t matter at what level, I get an opportunity to play with my best mate,” said Dellacqua.

“She’s an extremely good player and has won the Championships before. We’re just gonna have a great time and enjoy just being back together as friends on a tennis court, which we have loved to do our whole life.

“I’m actually really excited about it. We’re now in a different stage of our life. We’ve both got kids, we chat about different things, but hey, the tennis doesn’t change. The tennis is always there. And that’s the glue that brought us together. So we’re really lucky.”

Laura Robson spoke to Tennis365 at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event
Laura Robson spoke to Tennis365 at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event

Former British No 1 Laura Robson is also competing in the invitational tournament and she is looking forward to seeing Barty back on court.

“I still feel like Ash could come back and win the whole thing again,” Robson told Tennis365 at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event.

“She’s playing with Casey Dellacqua and I just don’t want to be in their group!

“We saw Caroline Wozniacki playing in this event at Wimbledon a couple of years back and then a few weeks later, she confirmed she was returning to tennis.

“I don’t see that happening with Ash. She is too happy enjoying her finishing an being a Mum to be back on tour full-time.

“I saw her in January in Melbourne and she was talking about it then. She is excited to play and it’s exciting for all of us to play at Wimbledon again.

“I’ve been practising and hopefully I can enjoy getting back out there again.”

The invitational event at Wimbledon gets underway in the second half of the Championships, with the first matches set to be played on Sunday.