Serena Williams may be open to a return to tennis, but former world number one Ash Barty has ruled out making a comeback in any sport.
- Ash Barty won the Australian Open in January, then retired aged 25 and on top of the world rankings in March
- After a high-profile farewell at the US Open, Serena Williams said two weeks ago she is “not retired”
- Barty got married earlier this year and said she is entering a completely new chapter of her life
When the then-25-year-old retired from tennis in March, at the top of her game and just a few weeks removed from her maiden Australian Open triumph, some speculated about cross-code forays to golf or cricket.
And while Williams has been less definitive about her time in tennis being over, the recently married Australian star has no plans to return to high-end sport.
“No, no, no, I’ll leave that to the pros,” she told ABC News Breakfast of a potential return to the site of her final victory to kick off next season.
“I’m completely content, fulfilled and happy.”
Barty’s shock retirement in the midst of 121 weeks atop the rankings sent people into a frenzy trying to predict what sport she would pursue next.
Even Barty, a one-time Brisbane Heat WBBL player and a four-marker with a golf swing that even wowed Tiger Woods before the 2019 Presidents Cup, “cracked up” when some outlets made wild guesses about the three-time grand slam champion’s future.
But now happily married to partner Garry Kissick, the retired superstar insists she no longer yearns to be a professional athlete.
“I miss competing and challenging myself against the best of the world but I don’t miss a lot that comes with it,” Barty told AAP.
“I’m still competitive with myself when I train at home. I still try and push myself, but there’s no white-line fever any more.
“And I never really felt like there was this void that needed to be filled in because there was a genuine sense of fulfilment at the end of my career.
“I don’t think I was still searching for the competitive beast anymore.”
That was not always the case, especially when Barty walked away from tennis for the first time in 2014, homesick, disillusioned and dissatisfied.
“During that period of my life [while] playing cricket, I was searching. I was searching for stimulation, I was searching for other things,” she said.
“But now I don’t need that. Now I have probably understood and realised that I’ve had an extremely full, fulfilling, incredible journey in my athletic and professional career and now it’s time to close that chapter.
“Now it’s the beginning of a completely new chapter in my life and we see what’s possible as opposed to searching for what’s missing.”
The 26-year-old remains unsure what the future holds, though she is already enjoying mentoring young players and a role as Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup captain some time down the track would not surprise.
“I’ll still be around, absolutely. I love tennis. I love the sport,” she said.
“It’s been a part of my life for almost all of my life. So I’m certainly not going to be running away too quickly.”
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