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‘Never’: Ash Barty rules out return to professional tennis ahead of Australian Open

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Ash Barty has firmly dismissed any suggestions that she could make a return to the tennis circuit.

The Australian tennis star shocked fans when she announced her retirement in March, shortly after winning her maiden Australian Open. 

Six months on from the decision and she is still far from tempted to make a comeback. 

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The 2022 Australian Open champion spoke at the Melbourne Park launch of her autobiography ‘My Dream Time’ and made her tennis intentions clear.

“I’m done,” Barty said.

“You can never say never but no.

“No, no, no. I’m done.”

Barty also bluntly ruled out a move to commentary, where she could join the likes of fellow retired players Sam Groth and Jelena Dokic.

“No, never,” she said.

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As Barty continues to promote her new book, she has opened up more about the emotions behind her surprise retirement.

The 2021 Wimbledon champion says she was entirely at peace with what she had achieved in her tennis career.

“It was difficult,” she told ABC News Breakfast on Tuesday.

“But I think for me, I had the opportunity to live out my dream, and not many people get to genuinely live out their dream.

“I had the opportunity to do my job – to play the sport I love – for just over 20 years and it was an incredible journey and I felt so fulfilled.

“I knew that it was time for me to move on and challenge myself in different ways.

Despite Barty’s confidence in her decision, the 26-year-old did have some concerns about a potentially sour public reception.

“[I wrestled with the decision] a little bit,” she said.

“There was probably a moment of doubt just before we announced it to everyone. 

“For me, I was really clearing my mind. But there was this sense of fear of ‘how will people react?’ I was always unsure and uncertain of what people would think.

“In the end I knew I made the right decision for me, and regardless of the opinions of others

“I knew it was right. And [it was a case of] hoping that everyone could understand and accept it.”

What does Ash Barty do now?

Despite retiring from tennis, Ash Barty still has plenty on her plate.

She has maintained her connection to the sport as the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador as well as launching a children’s book series titled ‘Little Ash’.

Outside of tennis, the former Brisbane Heat player was tipped to return to cricket, but she has instead enjoyed a foray into golf.

Barty won the ladies golf championship at the Brookwater Golf and Country Club in early April just weeks after her tennis retirement.

She also participated in the inaugural Icons Series event alongside notable names including Tottenham player Harry Kane and swimming icon Michael Phelps.

On top of this, Barty was named as Optus’ new ‘Chief of Inspiration’ in August, where she works alongside ‘Chief of Optimism’ and Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo.

When is the 2023 Australian Open?

The 2023 Australian Open will run from Monday, January 16 until Sunday, January 29.

Melbourne Park will, as usual, host the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.


Credit: sportingnews.com

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