WTA

Barty 'excited for next chapter', confirms she will give up WTA number one ranking after Miami

By Sports Desk March 24, 2022

Ash Barty insisted she would "never stop loving" tennis as the three-time grand slam winner kept everyone guessing about her next steps in life.

The 25-year-old announced a shock retirement on Wednesday, less than two months after triumphing at the Australian Open.

Barty hinted she would look to find a new role in sport, possibly in a playing capacity, and said she and boyfriend Garry Kissick had set a wedding date, but left it at that.

Speaking at a news conference in Brisbane, Barty said she had intended to reveal her retirement after playing for Australia in a Billie Jean Cup qualifying match in April.

However, reigning champions Russian Tennis Federation were recently excluded, due to the war in Ukraine, which meant the event was restructured and Australia did not need to play a qualifying tie. Barty consequently brought her announcement forward.

She said she had "given absolutely everything I could to this sport", and confirmed she has asked the WTA to remove her name from the world rankings the next time they are published.

Barty has retired as the world number one, with Iga Swiatek in pole position to succeed her. Results at the Miami Open, getting under way this week, will determine who tops the list when it is released on April 4.

"It's going to be an exciting time for the WTA Tour with the new number one," she said. "It will be a really cool period for them now."

Australian Barty, who is also the reigning Wimbledon champion, said of her career: "It's been a hell of a journey. I wouldn't change a thing and I certainly have no regrets."

She said winning the Australian Open in January had been "a brilliant way to finish", adding: "I'm excited for what's next, for my next chapter as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete."

Appearing alongside coach Craig Tyzzer, Barty said she had been practising on court even in the last fortnight.

"I hit as recently as 10 days ago," she said. "I'll forever be connected to tennis. I'll never stop loving the sport, I'll never stop hitting tennis balls. I just won't be doing it selfishly to progress my career, it'll be for different reasons."

Barty has played cricket at a high level before and is a keen golfer.

So could she look for a career in a sport other than tennis?

"I've seen some brilliant Photoshops as a jockey, lawn bowls," she said. "I love sport. I'm a sport nut, like a lot of Australians are; I'll be glued to it.

"I've always been an athlete in a sense of trying different things. But we will see how we go."

She is eager to share her tennis knowledge with youngsters in a coaching capacity, and appears to be relishing a quiet life away from the hustle of being a globe-trotting sports star.

Asked about her plans to marry Kissick, a trainee club golf professional, Barty said plans were in place, adding: "You have to wait and see."

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