Australia and the world has widely applauded the glittering career of tennis superstar Ash Barty, who on Wednesday announced her sudden retirement.
The 25-year-old posted on Instagram her enthusiasm for the sport has waned, and that she feels ‘proud and fulfilled’ after winning three career grand slam titles – including the Australian Open in January and Wimbledon last year.
Predictably, tributes for Barty on social media came thick and fast.
Leading the plaudits was Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who said the humble athlete was an ‘inspiration for all Australians.’
‘I want to say thank you to Ash for inspiring a generation of young people but particularly a generation of young indigenous people in this country,’ he said.
‘You are all class. Thank you to ash for inspiring a country, inspiring a nation, at a time when this country really needed a good shot in the arm.
‘None of us will ever forget that incredible comeback down there at the Australian Open this year.’
Australia has widely applauded the glittering career of tennis superstar Ash Barty, who has announced her sudden retirement from the sport
The world number one won the Australian Open in January, as well as Wimbledon last year and the French Open in 2019
American tennis star Madison Keys was one of many to pay tribute to Barty online after she announced her shock retirement on Wednesday
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese tweeted that Barty was a ‘magician on court’
Model Elise Knowles said she had ‘total respect’ for Barty’s decision which has stunned many
The Women’s Tennis Association said Barty was an ‘incredible ambassador for the sport and for women around the world’
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese tweeted that Barty was ‘a magician on court.’
Women’s Tennis Association chief executive Steve Simon said the sport will miss Barty’s ‘unwavering professionalism and sportsmanship.’
‘We wish Ash only the very best and know that she will continue to be a tremendous ambassador for the sport of tennis as she embarks on this new chapter of her life,’ he wrote in a statement.
Serena Williams, regarded as one of the best ever female tennis players, felt Barty was an icon in the eyes of many.
‘Honestly a little lost for words,’ she posted.
‘Thank you for inspiring not only young girls not only across Australia, but the world.
‘Thank you for showing that kindness wins. Thank you Ash Barty.’
Fellow Australian star Thanasi Kokkinakis, tweeted ‘Respect it’ in response to Barty’s bombshell decision.
British tennis star Andy Murray said he was happy for Barty, but ‘gutted for tennis’.
Former world no. 1 Karolína Plíšková added it was privilege to enjoy some epic battles against Barty.
‘An incredible tennis player but more importantly one of the nicest people on tour,’ she said.
Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, also a former world no. 1, wished Barty well in the next phase of her life.
‘Ash, what can I say, you know I have tears right? My friend, I will miss you on tour. You were different, and special, and we shared some amazing moments. What’s next for you? Grand Slam champion in golf?! Be happy and enjoy your life to the max,’ she wrote.
The tributes weren’t just limited to politicians and athletes.
A young Ash Barty clings onto a junior tennis trophy she won at a tournament back in 2002
Barty first picked up a racquet aged four because ‘didn’t want to play what she thought was a girls’ game’
The 25-year-old was the toast of Australia after winning Wimbledon in 2021 (pictured)
TV presenter Carrie Bickmore replied to Barty’s Instagram post: ‘Legend. Absolute legend’, while model Elyse Knowles stated she had ‘total respect’ for the move.
Barty was the first local to progress to the Australian Open women’s singles final since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.
After winning in straight sets against American Danielle Collins on Rod Laver Arena, the top seed was the first homegrown player to hoist the trophy since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Not bad for a girl who walked away from the sport disillusioned in 2014 to have a crack at Big Bash cricket with Brisbane Heat before returning to the court two years later with no guarantees.
Barty is expected to announce her next career move at a press conference on Thursday.
Ash Barty’s career tennis stats:
Grand Slam titles: Three
Singles titles: 15
Career win-loss record: 305/102
Career prizemoney: $23,829,071
Current singles ranking: 1
Best Grand Slam results:
Australian Open – Winner 2022
French Open – Winner 2019
Wimbledon – Winner 2021
US Open – Fourth Round 2018 and 2019