‘Gutted’, ‘nothing but respect,’ ‘what can I say?’- Tennis world reacts to surprise Ash Barty retirement
Despite being at the top of her game as WTA world number one and at just 25 years old, Ash Barty is leaving professional tennis on her own terms.
With such a shocking announcement comes praise and adulation from fans, contemporaries and competitors alike.
Here Tennishead has compiled a number of top former and current pros with their words in response to Barty’s retirement.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley – Former world number one, seven-time singles Slam champion, idol to Barty
Goolagong Cawley is one of the greats of the Open Era and a true legend of Australian sport, as well as a huge personal inspiration for Barty.
Both women are of Aboriginal Australian heritage, something Barty is immensely proud of celebrated during her career.
Goolagong Cawley won both for herself and for her nation, claiming three Fed Cup titles in 1971, 1973 and 1974 to go along with her seven singles, six doubles and one mixed doubles Slam titles.
From one Australian tennis legend to another…
Evonne Goolagong Cawley, after long-time friend and champion successor Ash Barty announced her immediate retirement from tennis. pic.twitter.com/cgrP2H5DY1
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) March 23, 2022
To top it off, Goolagong Cawley made a surprise appearance during the trophy ceremony for the 2022 Australian Open women’s final, presenting Barty with the cup.
Andy Murray – Former world number one and three-time Slam champion
Like Barty, Murray knows what it is like to carry the expectations of a historically strong tennis nation on your shoulders.
Barty became the first Australian to win the Australian Open singles for 44 years when she claimed the 2022 title, while Murray was the first Brit to win the Wimbledon singles for 36 years when he claimed his first crown there in 2013.
The respect for Barty is clearly there from Murray, summed up by his short but sweet recognition of her retirement.
Happy for @ashbarty gutted for tennis 🎾 what a player❤️
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) March 23, 2022
Dylan Alcott – 2021 Golden Slam champion and Australian sporting legend
Alcott went out on top, on his terms after the 2022 Australian Open, just as Barty’s has chosen to do.
In an incredible quad tennis career, Alcott claimed the Career Quad Singles twice over and the Career Quad Doubles Slam, winning 15 Majors in singles and eight in doubles.
Alcott won an astonishing seven consecutive Australian Open titles from 2015 to 2021, with 2021 being a special year in which he secured the Calendar Golden Slam by winning all four Slams and the Paralympic gold medal to add to his Paralympic doubles gold from 2016.
From one all-around champion to another, from one Aussie great to another, Alcott sent love out to Barty.
Ash Barty. Amazing tennis player but even better person. A champion in every sense of the word. Very proud of you mate ❤️
— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) March 23, 2022
Simona Halep – Fellow Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion and former world number one
A rival and fellow Slam champion, Halep faced Barty on four occasions on the WTA tour.
Moreover, Halep leads that head-to-head 3-1, with all three of her wins coming at WTA 1000 level.
Barty has seemed to follow in Halep’s footsteps, claiming her first two Major crowns in the following year’s event from the Romanian.
After Halep won Roland Garros in 2018, Barty won it in 2019 for her maidne Slam crown.
Halep won Wimbledon 2019 before triumphed there at the next staging in 2021, with Barty then forging ahead at the 2022 Australian Open.
30-year-old Halep cannot believe that 25-year-old Barty is retiring from the sport, and in her message suggests a possible future in pro golf for the Aussie.
Ash, what can I say, you know I have tears right? My friend, I will miss you on tour. You were different, and special, and we shared some amazing moments. What’s next for you? Grand Slam champion in golf?! Be happy and enjoy your life to the max xo Simo@ashbarty pic.twitter.com/WbX7kXnJ1l
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) March 23, 2022
Thanasi Kokkinakis – 2022 Australian Open doubles champion
Along with Barty Kokkinakis was part of the Australian party at the first Slam of this year as he and good friend Nick Kyrgios unexpectedly triumphed in the men’s doubles event.
Like Murray, Kokkinakis felt very little needed to be said about Barty retiring, agains just a message of respect.
Respect it @ashbarty 🙏🏼👏🏼
— Thanasi Kokkinakis (@TKokkinakis) March 23, 2022
Karolina Pliskova – 2021 Wimbledon finalist and former world number one, Barty rival
Often an opponent for Barty on the biggest stages, Pliskova faced Barty eight times in their careers.
Their three biggest encounters came in the final of the 2019 Miami Open, the semi-finals of the 2019 WTA Finals and the final of Wimbledon 2021.
Barty got the better of Pliskova on all three occasions, with two being title-clinchers and the WTA Finals 2019 eventually being Barty’s too.
Like Halep, Pliskova wished Barty a great future off the court.
— Karolina Pliskova (@KaPliskova) March 23, 2022
Petra Kvitova – Fellow Wimbledon champion and former world number two, Barty rival
Another who has conquered the grass of Wimbledon, this time twice, Kvitova took on Barty 10 times, splitting their head-to-head with five wins each.
All but two of those matches came in the quarter-finals of a tournament or later, including two Australian Open quarter-finals, one win each, and four meetings at WTA 1000 events where Barty leads 3-1.
Barty defeated Kvitova in the round robin stage of the 2019 WTA Finals before going on to claim the title.
The Czech described herself as speechless at the news of Barty’s retirement but was still able to send out a heartfelt message to her contemporary.
Ash, I have no words… actually you are showing your true class leaving tennis in this beautiful way.
I am so happy I could share the court with you.. tennis will never be the same without you! I admire you as a player and a person.. wishing you only the best! ❤️@ashbarty
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) March 23, 2022
Elina Svitolina – Fellow WTA Finals champion and former world number three, Barty rival
2018 and 2019 WTA Finals champions respectively, Svitolina and Barty did battle eight times over their WTA careers, with Svitolina leading the head-to-head 5-3.
In fact, Svitolina won their first five meetings spanning from 2017 to 2019 before Barty reversed her fortunes for their next three encounters.
Their highest profile meeting came at the WTA Finals in 2019 as Barty defeated the defending champion Ukrainian in the final to take the title for herself, claiming her first ever win over Svitolina.
Respect was again the order of the day from Svitolina in her retirement message to Barty.
— Elina Monfils (@ElinaSvitolina) March 23, 2022
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