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Ashleigh Barty has confirmed she will return to tennis after 17 months away from the sport

Barty set for comeback

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Originally published on 08/02/16 00:00

A three-time Grand Slam doubles finalist, Barty is playing at a $25,000 ITF Challenger event in Perth this week, her first competitive match since September 2014.

Still only 19, the former Wimbledon junior champion announced in September 2014 that she was taking an indefinite break from tennis.

"I love the sport of tennis, but I sort of got a little bit away from what I really wanted to do,” Barty told WTATennis.com. “It became robotic for me and that's not what I wanted. It's such an amazing sport and I just really wanted to enjoy it and I lost that enjoyment and that passion.

"I think deep down I knew if I kept trying to drive on through it, it would drive me away completely. So it was the right time to step away and just refresh. I had done it previously, in smaller stints. A few weeks here or there. But this time I knew I needed a little more time and didn't put a time limit on it. It just so happens to be that 16, 17 months later, I'm refreshed and ready to go again."

Barty, who signed a professional contract to play for Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash league last year, says playing cricket helped her rediscover her love of tennis.

"It was an unbelievable opportunity to completely do something really different,” she said. “The support and everything I got from cricket was phenomenal.  Having that competitive edge brought me back into that aspect of tennis, as well, getting out there and competing and sharing it with other people. It was just nice to refresh and do something different."

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Ashleigh Barty has confirmed she will return to tennis after 17 months away from the sport
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