WTA

Barty retires: Murray, Halep and Kvitova lead tributes to departing great

By Sports Desk March 23, 2022

Ash Barty has been hailed by the world of tennis after shockingly announcing her retirement at the age of 25 on Wednesday.

The popular Australian bows out as the world number one and having won three singles grand slam titles, the most recent of which came at her home major the Australian Open in January.

Announcing the news on Instagram, Barty cited achieving a lifelong goal of winning Wimbledon last year coupled with being "spent physically" as reasons that had accelerated her decision.

After making the surprising decision public, Barty has received praise from across the sport.

GUTTED FOR TENNIS

Former men's world number one Andy Murray reacted by saying: "Happy for Ash Barty, gutted for tennis. What a player."

It was a sentiment shared by many on social media, with former women's number one Simona Halep paying tribute to a "special" player.

"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," Halep wrote.

Dylan Alcott, the only man to complete the Golden Slam in quad singles, winning all four majors and the Paralympics in 2021, added: "Ash Barty. Amazing tennis player but even better person. A champion in every sense of the word. Very proud of you mate."

TENNIS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WITHOUT YOU

Reflecting the mood of many, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova wrote: "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!"

The great Tracy Austin added: "Happy for you, @ashbarty to go out on your terms but the tennis world will miss a great champion. Love your elegant, athletic style of play and have always been impressed with the way you handle yourself on and off the court. Enjoy the next chapter."

"Nothing but RESPECT for you @ashbarty!!! All the best in your retirement and congratulations on your distinguished career!" Elina Svitolina posted.

Karolina Pliskova spoke of the "privilege" of playing against Barty, writing: "Congrats on an incredible career Ash. It was a privilege to share a court with you. Wishing you all the best in your next chapter, @ashbarty. You will be missed."

"An incredible tennis player but more importantly one of the nicest people on tour. Congratulations @ashbarty on an amazing career and good luck with what’s next!" Madison Keys posted.

Andy Roddick, a former US Open men's singles champion, merely added: "Wow."

FOR EVERY YOUNG GIRL THAT HAS LOOKED UP TO YOU

The WTA posted a glowing tribute to Barty on its official Twitter account.

"For every young girl that has looked up to you. For every one of us that you've inspired. For your love of the game. Thank you, @ashbarty for the incredible mark you've left on-court, off-court and in our hearts," the Tour wrote.

The Australian Open posted several tributes, with one reading: "A career that has inspired the world. Thank you @ashbarty, for everything. We wish you the best in your retirement, and we’ll always be here cheering you on for the next chapter. Forever a champion."

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