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Australian Tennis champion Ash Barty has announced her shock retirement from professional tennis at just 25 years of age.
She made the tearful announcement via an Instagram post where she was chatting to her former doubles partner and friend Casey Dellacqua.
In the caption, she said: "Today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis. I wasn't sure how to share this news with you so I asked my good friend @caseydellacqua to help me."
"I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled.
"Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I'll always be grateful for the lifelong memories that we created together."
In the clearly emotional video, Barty explained her decision to Dellacqua.
She said: "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.
"I know I've done this (retired) before but in a very different feeling and I am so grateful to everything that tennis has given me.
"It's given me all of my dreams, plus more, but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down."
Congratulations on an incredible career Ash Barty :raised_hands:
A champion on and off the court and such a role model.
From Ipswich and the western suburbs of Brisbane to the world stage.
Thank you for inspiring us all to be our best. pic.twitter.com/gG4KXrEbnt
- Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) March 23, 2022
The Australian has retired once before, back in 2014, as she looked to move into professional cricket. However, she made her way back to tennis two years later in an incredible fashion storming her way to No.1 in the world.
Barty's decision to retire this time makes for a shock announcement as it's only two months since she won the Australian Open and her clinched her third grand slam triumph.
However, she said winning Wimbledon and the Australian Open within six months made the decision to pursue other endeavours an easier one.
She said: "It's something I've been thinking about for a long time and I've had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments.
"Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and for me as an athlete when you work so hard your whole life for one goal, and I've been able to share that with so many incredible people.
"But to be able to win Wimbledon, which was my dream, the one, true dream I wanted in tennis, that really changed my perspective. I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it.
Backstage with some amazing Aussie tennis legends, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Chris O'Neil, Judy Dalton and the one and only @ashbarty - who did something special tonight! pic.twitter.com/w3XinXWdHG
- Rod Laver (@rodlaver) January 29, 2022
"There was just a little part of me that wasn't quite satisfied, wasn't quite fulfilled. And then came the challenge of the Australian Open.
"That for me just feels like the perfect way, my perfect way, to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.
"As a person, this is what I want. I want to chase after some other dreams that I've always wanted to do, and always had that really healthy balance, but I'm really, really excited."
Barty turned pro back in 2010 and won 15 singles titles and 12 doubled titles throughout her career and was named the WTA Player of the Year in 2019 and 2021.
Featured Image Credit: Roger Parker/Alamy Live News. Frank Molter/Alamy Live news
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