A bombshell in the tennis world today as world number 1 and the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, Ashleigh Barty announced her retirement from tennis. Aged just 25, Barty has always been an atypical tennis player. A top junior snd successful doubles player as a teenager, Barty walked away from tennis after finding the grind of the tour not conducive to her mental health. Barty was away for a couple of years, and played cricket in her native Australia, before returning to the tour in 2016
I first saw Barty live at the Birmingham WTA event, beating Garbiñe Muguruza in the semi-finals. I was paying more attention to Petra Kvitova, who beat Barty the following day in the final – her first title after returning from the hand injury sustained in a knife attack. That fairy tale return victory was a three set battle with Barty. Indeed, Petra vs Ash has been a compelling rivalry over the last few years.