Ashleigh Barty Australian Open 2022

Ashleigh Barty ‘didn’t love the game as much as other players,’ top pundit sensationally claims

Whilst Barbara Schett admitted Ash Barty retiring initially surprised her, she predicted the Australian would have a short-lived career and is “not surprised” by the decision.

Ashleigh Barty shocked the tennis world when she announced her decision to retire despite being the current World number one, a reigning Grand Slam champion and being at the peak of her powers aged just 25.

Newly-crowned Australian Open champion Barty’s unexpected decision was met by an out-pouring of support from numerous professionals, both past and present.

In an interview with Eurosport, player-turned-pundit Schett said “I was surprised it happened today, but I’m actually not surprised that she’s retiring.

“I always thought she wasn’t going to have a very long career. She didn’t love the game as much as maybe other players have loved it, and she’s not driven by success or money,” the Austrian claimed without malice.

“I thought maybe she was going to play the US Open this year (to complete the ‘Career Grand Slam’) and then call it quits, [but] she’s done it now at the height of her game – and wow, what a champion!

“It’s crazy to imagine: I think, from my recollection, it’s the first time in history that somebody has walked off being a reigning Grand Slam champion and a World number one.

“That’s still a big decision, a big move to take, even though you might not have the motivation anymore. I’m sure it’s been a big decision, but that decision has been in her head for quite some time.

“She said after she won Wimbledon that she was already thinking ‘should I continue?,” Schett recalled.

“She’s been away from home so much that it’s made it even more clear to her that she probably wants to retire sooner rather than later.

“I actually thought when she won the Australian Open that maybe this was the time, maybe she was going to announce it and shock everybody.

“Retiring takes a lot of guts, but I think she really wants it, and I think this time it’s for good. I don’t think she’s going to come back in three or four years again,” she believes.

“I think it’s the right time; she’s achieved so much. Does she have the ambition to win four or five more Grand Slam titles? No, I don’t think so, because there are other things that are more important to her.

“Her big goal was to win Wimbledon. But then she thought, ‘okay, the Australian Open, playing at home, I want to just take on that challenge’.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.