Tennis star Barty takes “early retirement” to new extremes

“Early retirement” might be the most beautiful phrase in the English language. Who hasn’t dreamed of making a ton of money, retiring early and enjoying the rest of one’s days on an island, snorkelling and drinking cocktails? (Though not at the same time, guys, safety first.) We at The Wrap long for such a soft life. So on Wednesday we were torn between sobbing uncontrollably and cheering for Ash Barty when the world number one announced her immediate retirement from tennis. She’s 25. 😭 

Look, Barty deserves this. In a career spanning just 12 years, she bagged trophies at Wimbledon, the French Open and, earlier this year, her home tournament, the Australian Open. In the process, she became the first Aussie to win the Australian Open men’s or women’s singles title in 44 years. She is also only the second Indigenous Australian to win the Wimbledon singles title. 

Announcing her retirement, Barty said she doesn’t have the physical and emotional drive to compete in the top levels of tennis anymore: “I think I just know that I’m absolutely, I am spent. I just know physically I had nothing more to give and that for me is success.”

It’s not just tennis that’s left her physically exhausted. Barty, an athletic overachiever, had a stint in professional cricket too – she played in the Women’s Big Bash League, an Australian Twenty20 cricket league. So, what’s next? Never mind snorkelling and cocktails, Barty will devote the next season of her life to providing Indigenous Australians with “more opportunity to get into the sport (tennis)” from a young age. We’re in awe.

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 24 March  2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.