“Today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis,” the 25-year-old Australian said in the caption of an Instagram post.
“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.”
The post included a video, filmed with retired Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua, in which Barty further explains her decision.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Barty said in the clip. After winning Wimbledon last year, which she described as “the one true dream that I wanted in tennis,” she got a “gut feeling” that only strengthened after she won this year’s Australian Open.
Those victories were “my perfect way to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been,” she said. “As a person, this is what I want. I want to chase after some other dreams that I’ve always wanted to do.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) confirmed her retirement in a press release.
“Ashleigh Barty with her signature slice backhand, complemented by being the ultimate competitor, has always led by example through the unwavering professionalism and sportsmanship she brought to every match,” WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in the release.
“With her accomplishments at the Grand Slams, WTA Finals, and reaching the pinnacle ranking of No.1 in the world, she has clearly established herself as one the great champions of the WTA.”
Barty won 15 singles titles — including the three grand slam titles — and 12 doubles titles on the WTA Tour, and was the first Australian to win the Australian Open singles title since 1978. She is only the second reigning World No. 1 in the women’s game to retire at the top, following Justine Henin, who retired in 2008.
Barty, who started her professional tennis career in 2010, took a break from the sport from 2014 to 2016, before returning to tennis full-time in 2017. She went on to become dominant in the sport, winning 25 of her last 26 matches.