Wimbledon winner Ashleigh Barty shocked the tennis community this week by announcing her surprise retirement at the young age of 25. In recent interviews, the accomplished player told reporters that she was content with her tennis career and eager to pursue other dreams.
“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,” Barty posted on Instagram earlier this week. Barty received numerous accolades during her career, with many commentators praising her technique and her ability to excel all over the court.
Barty told interviewers that she suddenly realized she wanted more out of life than high-level tennis competition after she won the Grand Slam at Wimbledon last year. “There was this 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,” she said.
Her words resonated with people who have competed at a high level in any field, noting that the pursuit of the goal was often more fulfilling than the goal itself. “I am spent, I just know physically I have nothing more to give and that for me is success,” Barty noted. Her fans took to social media to praise her performance on the court and applaud her decision to retire at the top of her game.
In an interview with Australian tennis pro Casey Dellacqua, Barty took stock of her short but remarkable career. “I know I’ve done this before, but in a very different feeling. I’m so grateful to everything that tennis has given me. It’s given me all of my dreams, plus more. But I know the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down.”
She told Dellacqua that after winning Wimbledon, she felt fulfilled. While Barty won the Australian Open in January, she says her heart simply wasn’t in it after taking home the trophy from Wimbledon.
“I’m fulfilled, I’m happy,” Barty explained. “I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself […]I don’t have that in me anymore.”
She retires as one of the most popular and successful modern tennis players, someone pundits have called the “world’s most marketable athlete.” While she theoretically could remain a contender for decades, her fans understand that there is more to life than competition.