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Ash Barty reveals VERY surprising career move after retiring from tennis at 25


Australian women’s world No 1 Ashleigh Barty shocked the sporting world by retiring from tennis aged just 25 on March 23.

And while it was largely believed she might be turning her attention to playing professional golf, she confirmed to The Courier Mail on Sunday that she’s actually set to release a series of children’s books in the near future.

Not only that, but she will also release a memoir of her life later this year.

Career change: Australian women's world No 1 Ashleigh as shocked the sporting world by retiring from tennis aged just 25 on March 23 - and on Sunday, she revealed she's preparing to release a series of children's books

Career change: Australian women’s world No 1 Ashleigh as shocked the sporting world by retiring from tennis aged just 25 on March 23 – and on Sunday, she revealed she’s preparing to release a series of children’s books  

The children’s books will be a six-part series named Little Ash, which will be written and illustrated with First Nations creatives Jasmin McGaughey and Jade Goodwin and published by HarperCollins.

The books, which are fiction but will be loosely based on Barty and her family’s real-life experiences, will be released in July.

Barty said she hopes to read the books to youngsters in rural communities and remind children who are a similar age to her beloved niece Lucy, five, of the pleasures of reading.

Family: Barty said she hopes to read the books to youngsters in rural communities, and remind children who are a similar age to her beloved niece Lucy, five, (pictured) of the pleasures of book-reading

Family: Barty said she hopes to read the books to youngsters in rural communities, and remind children who are a similar age to her beloved niece Lucy, five, (pictured) of the pleasures of book-reading

‘This project has been so much fun and something I have always wanted to do,’ she told the publication. ‘Lucy was my North Star. She is the perfect age to understand stories and storylines and read chapter books.’

She added that reading to children in rural areas is something she wants to be ‘really hands-on with’.

Barty will then work alongside journalists Leo Schlink and Konrad Marshall on her life story, adding that she understands it’s quite unusual to do so at such a young age.

‘At 25 it’s not super-regular that something like this happens but it is a very exciting project. Looking back and talking about it has brought me so much joy and heartache and pain but I think it will be a very good read,’ she added.

Life story: Barty will then work alongside journalists Leo Schlink and Konrad Marshall on her life story - saying she understands it's quite unusual to do so at such a young age

Life story: Barty will then work alongside journalists Leo Schlink and Konrad Marshall on her life story – saying she understands it’s quite unusual to do so at such a young age

Ash went on to discuss recent speculation that she would be turning her focus to the world of golf.

The reigning champion took out the ladies competition at the Brookwater Golf and Country Club on Brisbane’s south-western outskirts on April 2, spurring on speculation that this could be her new career path. 

While flattered by the suggestion, Barty said for now she is just happy to be ‘scrambling around on a Saturday’.

After playing a round with pals and seeing the speculation ‘all over the news’, she added: ‘I had a good laugh about it. It’s alright. It’s all good. We try and play every week if we can. Normally its one in all in or one out all out. A very cruisy four-ball.’

She concluded the interview by saying she had no regrets about her decision to retire, and has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from fans. 

Retirement: Barty pulled the plug on her stunning career 'to chase other dreams' just weeks after winning the Australian Open, six months after claiming the Wimbledon title last year (pictured with fiance Garry Kissick)

Retirement: Barty pulled the plug on her stunning career ‘to chase other dreams’ just weeks after winning the Australian Open, six months after claiming the Wimbledon title last year (pictured with fiance Garry Kissick)

Barty pulled the plug on her stunning career ‘to chase other dreams’ just weeks after winning the Australian Open, six months after claiming the Wimbledon title last year.

She grabbed the world No.1 spot on June 24, 2019, and never relinquished it with high finishes in Grand Slams for the next two-and-a-half years.

The three-time Grand Slam winner announced her shock retirement in a video with former doubles partner and good friend Casey Dellacqua. 

Barty from Ipswich in Queensland, fought back tears as she made the bombshell announcement, saying she was physically and emotionally ‘spent’.

Upset: The women's world No 1 was visibly emotional as she made the shock announcement

Upset: The women’s world No 1 was visibly emotional as she made the shock announcement

‘It’s the first time I’ve said it out loud, so it’s hard to say but I’m so happy and I’m so ready,’ she explained in the video.

‘I know I’ve done this before but in a very different feeling and I’m so grateful of what tennis has given me, all of my dreams plus more but I know the time is right now for me to step away and to put the rackets down.’

Barty earned US$23.8 million (AU$37.75 million) in prize money and millions more in sponsorships, making her the 14th best-paid female player in history.

She made US$3 million from endorsements last year and was the eighth-highest paid female athlete in 2021, pocketing US$6.9 million, according to Forbes.

Career: Barty hasn't played in a tournament since her Australian Open title win in January

Career: Barty hasn’t played in a tournament since her Australian Open title win in January 

Her total career earnings are estimated to be around the US$53 million-mark (AU$70 million).

Barty said she was considering retirement for a while and had a ‘gut feeling’ achieving her childhood dream of winning Wimbledon last year.

‘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,’ she said.

‘I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments. And 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.

Career highlight: Barty's childhood hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley presented her with the Australian Open trophy in what would be Barty's last match

Career highlight: Barty’s childhood hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley presented her with the Australian Open trophy in what would be Barty’s last match

‘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.

‘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.

‘Now I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person and not Ash Barty the athlete.’

No regrets: Barty described her decision to quit tennis as hard but the right one to make

No regrets: Barty described her decision to quit tennis as hard but the right one to make

BARTY’S FULL ANNOUNCEMENT 

I will be retiring from tennis.

‘It’s the first time I’ve actually said that out loud and yeah, 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 before, but in a very different feeling.

‘I’m 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 rackets down.

CASEY DELLACQUA: Why now?

ASH BARTY:  ‘It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

‘I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments. And 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 that I wanted in tennis – that really changed my perspective.

‘I just had I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it.

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 and that for me just feels like the most 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.

‘I’ve always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really, really excited.

DELLACQUA: Hard for a lot of people to understand. You’re probably one of the most marketable athletes in the world. How difficult was it to come to this decision?

BARTY: ‘There was a perspective shift in me in the second phase of my career that my happiness wasn’t dependent on the results.

‘Success for me is knowing that I’ve given absolutely everything, everything I can.

‘I’m fulfilled, I’m happy, and I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself.

‘I just don’t have that in me anymore. I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level anymore.

‘I am spent. I just know physically I have nothing more to give and that, for me, is success.

‘I’ve given absolutely everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis and I’m really happy with that.

‘I know that people may not understand it. And that’s okay, I’m okay with that because I know that for me, Ash Barty, the person has so many dreams that she wants to chase after that don’t necessarily involve traveling the world, being away from my family being away from my home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be.

‘I’ll never ever ever stop loving tennis. It’ll always be a massive part of my life.

‘But now I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person and not Ash Barty the athlete.

‘It was hard but it’s right and I know that brought me lots of comfort knowing that this is right for me.’ 

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