Ash Barty, the No. 1-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, has announced her retirement from the sport at the age of 25.
Barty said in an emotional video posted Wednesday on social media: “I’m so happy and I’m so ready. I just know at the moment in my heart for me as a person this is right.”
The announcement comes less than two months after she won her home Australian Open, her third Grand Slam singles title.
“It’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud and, yeah, it’s hard to say,” Barty told her former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua in the video interview. “But I’m so happy, and I’m so ready.
“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent.”
Barty, who left tennis in 2014 to pursue a professional cricket career but returned to the sport two years later, won her three major singles titles on three different surfaces — on clay at the 2019 French Open, on grass at Wimbledon last year and on the hard courts of Melbourne Park at the Australian Open in January.
The WTA Tour said Barty has held the No. 1 ranking for 114 consecutive weeks.
She is the second woman to withdraw while being ranked No. 1 in the world. Justine Henin retired on May 14, 2008, after spending 61 consecutive weeks ranked at the top. Henin was also 25 at the time of her retirement, but did come back two years after her announcement, reaching the end of the 2010 Australian Open before stepping away for good in 2011.
The WTA commented on Barty’s Instagram post: “Thank you for being an incredible ambassador for this sport and for women around the world. We will miss you so much, Ash.”
Barty said tennis has “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 rackets down.”
She noted in her Instagram caption that she leaves the sport “feeling proud and fulfilled” and said there will be more to come at her news conference on Thursday.
Earlier this month, Barty announced she was pulling out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and the Miami Open, citing a need for ongoing recovery after winning the Australian Open.
“Unfortunately, my body has not recovered the way I’d hoped after the Australian Open and I have not been able to adequately prepare for Indian Wells and Miami,” Barty said on March 3. “I don’t believe I am at the level necessary to win these events and as a result I have decided to withdraw from both tournaments.
“I love these events and am sad not to be there competing but getting my body right must be my focus.”
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.