It will be fine: Barty signs tennis at 25, ranked No. 1

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Ash Barty signaled the end of the photo ops at his retirement press conference in his typically low-key, no-nonsense style: “Fine, that’ll be fine.”

A day after revealing in a video posted on social media that she was leaving the women’s tennis circuit after spending the last two years at the top of the rankings and winning two of the last three Grand Slam singles titles, Barty, 25, , held a press conference Thursday in downtown Brisbane.

Barty’s decision to retire surprised nearly everyone involved in the sport, from fans to players and officials, and raised the obvious question: why now?

In the Instagram video, she hinted at the dreams and challenges that awaited Ash Barty the person, rather than Ash Barty the player. Those who pressed for a few more details at the official press conference received a repeated response: “You’ll have to wait and see. Be patient.”

So, no major updates and still a lot of speculation about what’s next for Barty, who has requested to be removed from the WTA rankings.

She has a wedding date set – she announced her engagement to aspiring golfer Garry Kissick last November – but she hasn’t made it public yet.

Another future plan is to spend more time working with Indigenous children, Barty said, because “that’s what lights me up inside.”

Fulfilling his long-held dream of winning the Wimbledon singles championship last year changed the trajectory of his career, Barty said. It hastened his retirement, but not before “one last chance” to win the Australian Open and end a 44-year drought for Australian players in their home major tournament.

“After Wimbledon my perspective changed a lot,” she said. “There was this beautiful challenge of trying to play the Australian Open and trying to win an Australian Open, which was always another of my goals.

“To do this as a team, to do this with the people who mean so much to me, it was incredible.”

Craig Tyzzer, Barty’s longtime coach, wasn’t surprised.

Tyzzer told a low-key, casual outdoor press conference, where the coach and star player wore t-shirts and shorts, he’d heard Barty talk about retirement since winning her first title singles major at Roland-Garros in 2019. .

And that was after Barty returned to tennis after an almost two-year sabbatical which began in 2014 and involved becoming a full-time professional cricketer.

“It’s not a shock to me. Ash is doing his own thing,” Tyzzer said. “I think it’s the right time.

“I think she won the Australian Open for everyone, not just for her. I think it was for everyone. I doubt there’s anything left in the tank for her. .

But even though Barty hit the winning shot to earn a straight-set victory over Danielle Collins in the Australian Open final in January, she admitted she wasn’t entirely sure it would be. the last of his professional career.

“That moment, I was completely engrossed. It was such an amazing moment to share with so many people in the crowd,” she said. “That crowd, the Australian Open final , was unlike anything I’ve played before.

“It was so much fun to enjoy this moment with them. A very good way to end.

In all, Barty has won 15 titles at the tour level in singles and 12 in doubles. She spent 121 weeks at No. 1 in the standings, including the last 114 in a row, and finished with a record 25 wins in her last 26 games.

“My name will be removed from the list in the next ranking cycle,” she said. “It will be an exciting time for the WTA Tour with a new No. 1. Now is the time for me to let go and pursue something else.”


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