Ashleigh Barty retirement: Full transcript of world No 1’s retirement conversation with Casey Dellacqua
Ashleigh Barty will no longer grace the professional tennis courts around the world after stunning the sporting world by announcing her retirement.
The announcement came nearly two months after she added the Australian Open to her trophy cabinet with the Wimbledon and French Open trophies already in there.
The Australian has been the dominant figure on the WTA Tour the past few years as she had been world No 1 for the best of part of three years and many felt she would continue that stranglehold in the near future.
However, she shocked the tennis community on Wednesday with the announcement made during a social media video with her close friend and former tennis player Casey Dellacqua.
Here is the full conversation between the two.
Dellacqua: Why am I here today?
Barty: I kind of wasn’t quite sure how I was going do this but I think so many times in my life both my professional and my personal, you’ve been there for me and I just couldn’t think there’s no right way there’s no wrong way, it’s just my way.
This is perfect for me. To share it with you, to talk to you about it with my team, my loved ones that I’ll be retiring from tennis. And that’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud and yeah, it’s hard to say, but I’m so happy and I’m so ready, and I just know at the moment, in my heart, for me as a person, this is right.
I know I’ve done this before, but in a very different feeling. And I’m so grateful to everything that tennis has given me. It’s given me all of my dreams possible, but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams. And yeah, and to put the racquets down.
Dellacqua: Thank you for trusting me again. Yeah, you’re an inspiration to so many and it can’t be easy, but it also must feel nice. To, in a way, get it off your chest. Why now I think is probably going to be the most common question. Why now?
Barty: Yeah, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments. Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and for me as an athlete when you work so hard your whole life for one goal, and I’ve been able to share that with so many incredible people. But to be able to win Wimbledon which was my dream, my one true dream that I wanted in tennis, that really changed my perspective and I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it. There was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, wasn’t quite fulfilled.
Then came the challenges of the Australian Open and I think that for me just feels like the most perfect way, my perfect way to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been. As a person this is what I want. This is I want to I want to chase after some other dreams that I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really really excited.
Dellacqua: I think it will be hard for a lot of people to understand because as you said, you’re a three-time grand slam champion. You’ve just come off the AO [Australian Open] you’re probably one of the most marketable athletes in the world. How difficult was it to come to this decision?
Barty: There was a perspective shift in me in this second phase of my career that my happiness wasn’t dependent on the results and success for me is knowing that I’ve given absolutely everything I can. I’m fulfilled, I’m happy, and I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself. And I’ve said it to my team., multiple times, it’s just I don’t have that in me anymore.
I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and kind of everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level any more, and I think I just know that I’m absolutely, I am spent. I just know physically I have nothing more to give and that for me is his success. I’ve given absolutely everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis and I’m really happy with that.
And for me that is my success and I know that people may not understand it and that’s okay. I’m okay with that because I know that for me, Ash Barty, the person has so many dreams that 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 it’s where I’ve grown up. I’ll never ever, ever stop loving tennis. It’ll always be a massive part of my life. But now I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete.
Dellacqua: Well I know I speak for so many people Ash. I know your family are going to love having you around more. I’m going to love having you around more with more time with you. But I know I speak for so many people, to say thank you, thank you for everything. Everything you’ve given to our sport.
Having known you for so long, one thing I know is that you make decisions that are right for you. And they’ve always worked out and you’ve done it your way. And I think that’s really brave. I think that’s really credible. And so thank you for everything that you’ve done for our sport. Thank you for giving us you, Ash Barty. Enjoy retirement.
Barty: It’s scary
Dellacqua: You’re amazing. And it must have been so difficult for you to reach this decision and so difficult for you to sit here and actually speak about it and I know you’re going to speak about it more to come, you will. But I’m just so proud of you and I’m so excited as well for what’s next for you as well.
Barty: Yeah, it was hard, but it’s right and I know that brought me a lot of comfort knowing that this is right for me. But I’m very excited.
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