There will be no Ashleigh Barty comeback in tennis – or any other sport for that matter – as the three-time Grand Slam winner says she no longer has “white line fever”.
The Australian stunned the sporting world in February when she announced her retirement just weeks after winning the Australian Open. In her farewell interview she admitted that she fulfilled all her tennis dreams when she won Wimbledon in 2021.
There had been speculation that the 26-year-old could return to the professional stage in the future, but in an interview with the Australian Associated Press she poured cold water over the suggestions.
“Nope, I’m done,” she said. “You can never say never but no. No, no, no. I’m done.”
Barty is currently promoting her memoir, “My Dream Time”, and she explained that she no longer has the desire to compete professionally.
“I’m not training to be an athlete anymore,” the former WTA world No 1 said. “I’m not training as a job, I’m training for fun.
“I miss competing and challenging myself against the best in the world, but I don’t miss much that comes with it.
“I’m still competitive with myself when I train at home. Still trying to push myself, but no more white line fever.
“And I never really felt like there was this void that needed to be filled because there was a genuine sense of accomplishment at the end of my career.
“I think I wasn’t looking for the competitive beast anymore.”
Barty also ruled out taking up a commentary gig following her decision to hang up her racket and laughed at claims she could return to cricket or even become a jockey.
“The jockey [idea and the meme that came out] was hilarious,” she said.
“Never. Never might be my new favourite word.”
After turning professional in 2010 and surging up the rankings, Barty took a break from tennis in 2014 as she felt it “was too much too quickly for me”.
She had a stint in Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League before returning to tennis in 2016.
Things are different this time around.
“I was looking for myself. I was searching for stimulation [when I turned to cricket],” she said.
“I was searching for other things, but now I don’t need that. Now I’ve kind of probably understood and realised that I’ve had an extremely full, fulfilling incredible journey … in my professional career and now it’s time to close that chapter.
“There’s no more need for that searching because there’s a curiosity for what comes next, as opposed to finding what was missing.”
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