Ash Barty took to social media on Saturday with a post confirming her marriage to her long-time partner in a discreet ceremony as she continues to thrive in her life after tennis.

Her husband, Garry Kissick, is an Australian professional golfer, and the pair met at the Brookwater Golf Club back in 2016. Showing more strings to her bow, the multi-sport star who has also played professional cricket won the Brookwater Golf Club's championship in 2020.

Barty, 26, retired from the sport earlier this year at the peak of her powers, as a dominant world number one and reigning Australian Open champion.

In an interview with friend and former Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua, she said the decision was due to being burnt out.

"I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more," she said. "I am spent."

Barty's most recent high-profile public appearance was during The Open, where she competed in the celebrity four-ball competition in a team that featured Kevin Pietersen.

Karolina Pliskova believes Ash Barty could return to tennis following her surprise retirement in March, but the Czech acknowledged she could not relate to the decision as she "likes the game too much".

Barty became just the second player to call quits on their playing career when ranked as world number one, after Justine Henin, with a shock announcement last month.

The 25-year-old cited a lack of "physical drive and emotional want" to compete despite claiming her second grand slam title at the Australian Open just two months before.

However, just as Henin did after retiring, former world number one Pliskova has a feeling that Barty, who defeated her in the 2021 Wimbledon final, may also return to the court in future.

"I was shocked because I'm not really on Twitter because I don't want to get too much information for myself," Pliskova told the WTA on Barty's retirement.

"But somebody messaged me and said, 'Oh, did you see the news?' It was 11:00 in the evening in Miami. I was like, 'No, no, did somebody cry again or something?' They said, 'No, no, Ashleigh, she stopped.' I'm like, 'No way, that's not possible. Tell me the reason.' 

"I understand everybody's different. For me, it's not understandable at all because I just like the game so much. But I understand somebody maybe suffers, somebody doesn't like to travel.

"She basically won everything that she wanted to win, I suppose maybe she had no motivation. If you hate this tennis life and it's not what you always wanted to do, I think it's good to stop. 

"But I was surprised and shocked. I thought she was a really good number one for our sport and she was there for a while. Of course now, Iga [Swiatek] is a really good player, but I just thought Ashleigh was a good person and she had good charisma. I'm going to miss her. 

"But you never know. I think maybe she's going to come back. And then she's just going to be 27."

Meanwhile, Pliskova is focusing on her comeback as she continues to recover from a freak gym accident that resulted in a broken arm, which delayed the start of her new campaign by two months.

The 30-year-old, who has reached two major finals, made an encouraging return as she defeated Ukraine's Katarina Zavatska at Charleston Open but fell to Ekaterina Alexandrova on Friday.

"It was tough because people who follow tennis or me, they know I don't really have injuries," she added. "Even if I feel something, I still play. I never skip anything, not even practice or a tournament.

"The only break I had was this Covid break and I don't think that helped me. This injury was a bit more serious because I could not use my arm. I had a cast for a month or two. So it was quite a difficult time.

"I think things are going quite well. I just try to take the positives out of it, that I'm able to play after a couple months. It's been too long for me because with the offseason together, I missed four or five months.

"I know I'm not the player which can have five months at home and then I come in and win a tournament. I need some time to go through the feelings and the matches. I know it's going to take time, but just happy to be back."

Iga Swiatek has revealed she was "crying for 40 minutes" when she discovered Ash Barty had retired and the Polish sensation has felt "a range of emotions" after becoming world number one.

Barty sensationally called time on her career at the age of 25 last month.

The Australian quit while she was at the top of the rankings and on the back of winning her home grand slam for the first time at Melbourne Park in January.

Swiatek on Monday became Poland's first world number one and the 20-year-old could be hard to dislodge, as she is on a 17-match winning run.

The 2020 French Open champion became the youngest woman to win the Sunshine Double on Saturday when she beat Naomi Osaka in the Miami Open final after being crowned champion at Indian Wells.

Swiatek was in tears after finding out that Barty had ended her playing days and it soon sunk in that she would officially become the best player in the world.

She told BBC Sport: "I was crying for 40 minutes. Mainly, it was because of Ash's retirement. I didn't know it was going to happen and it really surprised me.

"I always had this vision that we would all play until we are 35 or something, until our bodies are so tired that we can't anymore.

"I needed time to actually understand what she must have thought. Her decision was really brave and I felt a lot of emotions because of that."

She added: "I also felt emotional because of my own position.

"I realised after two hours of being really emotional that 'hey, you don't know what is going to happen yet and you still have to win some matches'.

"So I told myself 'let's wait with the emotions and with being excited because I have work to do'."

Swiatek won the Qatar Open before claiming another two prestigious titles in the United States and the Warsaw native says the manner in which she has dominated has taken her by surprise.

"Emotionally it has been really intense and I have felt a range of emotions – from being proud and having satisfaction, to confusion and surprise," she said.

"These last weeks showed me I can trust in myself a little bit more and trust my skills and my tennis. Before I didn't really know it was possible for me to have a streak like that. So it also kind of surprised me.

"After Doha and after Indian Wells I didn't have time to digest what I've achieved. Right now I am going to take some time to analyse what happened from a 'work' point of view."

Robert Lewandowski joined skiing greats Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin in saluting Iga Swiatek for earning the number one ranking in women's tennis for the first time.

At the age of 20, Swiatek guaranteed she will top the WTA list after the Miami Open by beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-0 in her opening match at the event.

Swiatek will replace Ash Barty, whose shock retirement will see the Australian drop off the ranking ladder entirely when it is next published on April 4.

Since a shock French Open victory in October 2020, when the unseeded Swiatek stormed through the draw without dropping a set, the Polish youngster has continued to make a major impact.

She reached at least the fourth round of all the grand slams last year and was a semi-finalist at the 2022 Australian Open, before victory at WTA 1000 events in Doha and Indian Wells propelled her to number two in the rankings.

Now she will climb a step higher, and that news has proven popular with Swiatek's supporters, who include a number of illustrious names.

Fellow Polish sporting star Lewandowski, who is rewriting goalscoring records in Germany with Bayern Munich, sent his compatriot a message on Instagram that read simply: "Congratulations Iga. Well done."

Swiatek is a huge admirer of Americans Vonn and Shiffrin, who have both landed World Championship and Olympic gold medals on the slopes, and the respect is mutual.

Vonn told Swiatek her achievement was "So deserved!!", and Shiffrin posted: "Congrats Iga!!"

Former WTA number one Kim Clijsters, who was also 20 when she first hit the top spot in 2003, felt it was a natural next step for Swiatek to move up a rung and become the 28th top-ranked player in the tour's history. Swiatek will also be the first Pole to sit at the summit.

Clijsters said: "To see Iga grow as a tennis player, it has been so beautiful for me. There's a certain type of focus that is on tennis, and tennis only. There's a drive there that I admire very much – a drive that I recognise."

Belgian Clijsters, quoted on the WTA website, added: "She's had great results in the past, but she still wants to improve. We've seen others that kind of take a step back and say, 'Oh, I've won a slam now, I've made it. There's sponsors coming in and I get treated like a princess wherever I go'.

"Just because you’re the number one player and have won slams, doesn't mean you should treat other people differently. I feel like Ash Barty did that amazingly, and I think Iga has that focus, too."

New world number one Iga Swiatek says taking the top rank is a "dream come true" and something she never strongly believed could happen.

Swiatek made history as the first Polish tennis player to reach the top ranking, taking over the mantle following Ashleigh Barty's shock decision to retire from the sport in midweek. She will officially become number one when the WTA rankings are updated on April 4.

The 20-year-old Pole, who won the 2020 French Open and made this year's Australian Open semi-finals, made the ascent to the summit after beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-0 at the Miami Open on Friday.

"It's a dream come true, for sure," Swiatek told reporters. "It's that kind of thing that I wanted to happen someday, but I didn't really know that it's going to be possible for me.

"I never really imagined that moment, because truth to be told, I was working day by day and I was playing tennis well, but I never had that like that strong belief that it can actually happen, so it's even more surreal for me."

Swiatek has claimed WTA 1000 titles at Indian Wells and Doha this year, with her victory over Golubic extending her winning run to 12 matches.

She is the 28th woman to reach the summit in the WTA rankings, becoming the youngest player at the top since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

"I think it's going to be a bit different and maybe the hype is going to be a bit bigger, but I'm ready for that," she said.

"Honestly, it's like part of the job, so I always knew if I'm going to succeed, it's going to be there. I really appreciate people being really enthusiastic and really pumped up because I think sometimes I'm even playing for them."

Barty was quick to congratulate Swiatek on claiming the number one ranking, saying there is "no better person" than the Pole.

"There is no better person," Barty said in a message. "The way that she's brought this fresh, fearless energy onto the court has been incredible.

"I hope she can take it and still be her, do it her own way, and really chase what she's after in her career and her dreams."

Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek has risen to world number one in the wake of Ashleigh Barty's retirement with a 6-2 6-0 win over Viktorija Golubic at the WTA Miami Open on Friday, sealing her ascent.

Swiatek, who won recent WTA 1000 events this year at Indian Wells and Doha, cruised to victory in one hour and 14 minutes over the Swiss.

The 20-year-old Pole, who won the French Open in 2020 and reached this year's Australian Open semi-finals, will officially become the top-ranked player when the rankings are updated on Monday April 4.

Barty's name will be removed from the rankings at her request having announced her shock retirement earlier this week at the age of 25, despite winning this year's Australian Open and last year's Wimbledon titles.

Swiatek is the 28th woman to reach the summit in the WTA rankings, becoming the youngest player at the top since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010. She will become Poland's first-ever number one in tennis history.

The Pole extended her winning streak to 12 matches against Golubic, taking her to a tour-high 21 wins this year, in a match where she saved eight of nine break points and took six of the nine she generated.

Swiatek's main immediate competition for the top rank was fifth seed Paula Badosa who got past Marie Bouzkova 7-5 7-5 in two hours and three minutes.

Badosa, who got the edge by grinding out games under pressure, will face Yulia Putintseva in the third round after she won 6-3 4-6 7-5 over Lesia Tsurenko.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari was bundled out of contention following a shock 4-6 6-1 6-2 loss to Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Two-time major winner Petra Kvitova needed three sets to get past Clara Burel, winning 6-1 3-6 6-3 in one hour and 45 minutes.

Jessica Pegula beat Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-4, Cori Gauff got past Qiang Wang 7-5 6-4 and 20th seed Elise Mertens went down 7-5 2-6 6-1 to Linda Fruhvirtova.

Ash Barty has not ruled out a return to professional tennis, saying "never say never" when asked if she could make a comeback in years to come.

The three-time grand slam winner announced her surprise retirement from the sport on Wednesday, less than two months after her home victory at the Australian Open.

At just 25, Barty is stepping away from the court at the peak of her career, and has teased the idea she could step into another sport entirely.

But speaking on Thursday, the reigning Wimbledon champion did not discount the possibility of returning to tennis down the line.

"You never say never," she said. "But it's a long way off at this stage."

Barty previously played cricket during a sabbatical between 2014 and 2016, and has been linked with a switch to golf in recent years too.

She shut down such suggestions as an immediate option, adding: "[I've] got to try and learn how to hit the middle of the club face before I can think of trying to get on the tour."

Elsewhere, Barty admitted that she would miss the competition of the WTA circuit, while praising fellow Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal for his staying power in the sport.

"I love the competition," she said. "That's what has driven me the most in my career, is that one-on-one competition and the thrill of the fight. I know that I'll miss it 100 per cent.

"But I'll be able to get the adrenaline in different ways. Those ways will remain to be seen. But I know that I've been so fortunate to have so many incredible moments on the court."

Unlike Nadal, Barty is bowing out of tennis early, and she respects the way the 35-year-old Spaniard, who also triumphed at Melbourne Park this year, has been able to stay at the top for the best part of two decades.

She said: "It's been an incredible career. His longevity in the sport has been undeniable. He's been amazing for the sport of tennis. For me as a fan to see him do that over such an extended period has been a pleasure."

Ash Barty insisted she would "never stop loving" tennis as the three-time grand slam winner kept everyone guessing about her next steps in life.

The 25-year-old announced a shock retirement on Wednesday, less than two months after triumphing at the Australian Open.

Barty hinted she would look to find a new role in sport, possibly in a playing capacity, and said she and boyfriend Garry Kissick had set a wedding date, but left it at that.

Speaking at a news conference in Brisbane, Barty said she had intended to reveal her retirement after playing for Australia in a Billie Jean Cup qualifying match in April.

However, reigning champions Russian Tennis Federation were recently excluded, due to the war in Ukraine, which meant the event was restructured and Australia did not need to play a qualifying tie. Barty consequently brought her announcement forward.

She said she had "given absolutely everything I could to this sport", and confirmed she has asked the WTA to remove her name from the world rankings the next time they are published.

Barty has retired as the world number one, with Iga Swiatek in pole position to succeed her. Results at the Miami Open, getting under way this week, will determine who tops the list when it is released on April 4.

"It's going to be an exciting time for the WTA Tour with the new number one," she said. "It will be a really cool period for them now."

Australian Barty, who is also the reigning Wimbledon champion, said of her career: "It's been a hell of a journey. I wouldn't change a thing and I certainly have no regrets."

She said winning the Australian Open in January had been "a brilliant way to finish", adding: "I'm excited for what's next, for my next chapter as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete."

Appearing alongside coach Craig Tyzzer, Barty said she had been practising on court even in the last fortnight.

"I hit as recently as 10 days ago," she said. "I'll forever be connected to tennis. I'll never stop loving the sport, I'll never stop hitting tennis balls. I just won't be doing it selfishly to progress my career, it'll be for different reasons."

Barty has played cricket at a high level before and is a keen golfer.

So could she look for a career in a sport other than tennis?

"I've seen some brilliant Photoshops as a jockey, lawn bowls," she said. "I love sport. I'm a sport nut, like a lot of Australians are; I'll be glued to it.

"I've always been an athlete in a sense of trying different things. But we will see how we go."

She is eager to share her tennis knowledge with youngsters in a coaching capacity, and appears to be relishing a quiet life away from the hustle of being a globe-trotting sports star.

Asked about her plans to marry Kissick, a trainee club golf professional, Barty said plans were in place, adding: "You have to wait and see."

US Open champion Emma Raducanu is not planning on replicating Ash Barty after the world number one retired at the age of 25.

Barty announced her retirement on Wednesday less than two months after winning the Australian Open, saying she has accomplished all she set out to in the sport.

There has since been an outpouring of respect and admiration for Barty, with the prevailing sentiment being that it is a great loss for tennis.

Raducanu burst onto the scene last year with a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon that was followed by a remarkable triumph at Flushing Meadows, making history at the age of 18 in becoming the first player to win a grand slam as a qualifier in the Open Era, doing so without dropping a set.

And she is planning on staying on the WTA Tour for many years to come.

"For me, I want to be in the game as long as possible," Raducanu said.

"I'm only 19. I've just come on tour, which is pretty young.

"I want to be in the game till I'm in my 30s. We'll see what happens and how long I can last, to be honest."

Reflecting on Barty's career, one in which she took a break from the sport in 2014, briefly playing professional cricket, before returning in 2016, Raducanu added: "If you get oversaturated with one thing, it's not healthy with anything you do.

"I feel like that just shows, if you take time off, you come back, you're hungry, you're ready. 

Two of the top-ranked players on the WTA tour have spoken about world number one Ash Barty's shock retirement, with Danielle Collins calling it "badass".

Barty announced she had retired through a post on her Instagram account, where she had a sit-down interview with former Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua about her decision to walk away.

In her interview, Barty discussed accomplishing the goals she set out for herself in her tennis career, capped off with wins at Wimbledon and this year's Australian Open, as well as having other dreams she would like to work towards.

Barty, 25, has played professional cricket in Australia's Big Bash League, and has been linked with her beloved Richmond Tigers if she were to try her hand at Australian Rules football.

She is also recently married, and has discussed her desire to start a family.

Collins, currently the world number 11, spoke about how incredible it is that Barty is able to walk away at such a young age, with so many accomplishments under her belt.

"I am a little bit surprised because I think at 25 and being at the top of her game and in achieving everything that she's achieved and being so young she would certainly continue to achieve what she's been achieving," Collins said.

"But I think it really speaks to the way that our game empowers women, because how many other professions would you be able to retire at 25? 

"I mean, this is incredible, it's so badass, and I really have a lot of respect for Ash making the decision to do what's best for her, and to live out her life on her terms. It's really special."

Rising star and world number two Iga Swiatek also weighed in, saying her first reaction was an outpouring of emotion about what a loss it was for the game of tennis.

"Well, I mean, it is so fresh and it's so sudden that it is something that I need to digest," the 20-year-old said.

"I cried for like 30 minutes, actually, when she posted that video and that interview. 

"It's very hard to describe it because on one hand… if you know Ash, it's not a surprise at all, because she's like that kind of person who's looking for challenges also in other aspects of life. 

"I mean, you can see that she's pretty confident with her decision. But on the other hand, it's new for me to see athletes retiring so early. 

"I'm pretty new on tour and I feel like I wanted to play more matches against Ash, and also compete against her and have a chance to actually understand how she plays and how she uses the different skills that she has. 

"I mean, for me, I feel kind of sad that I'm not going to be able to do that because I think it would be a great rivalry. And also, she's a great person to look up to and to kind of chase. 

"But I'm also happy for her, and I think she's really brave that she made that decision because there would be many people who, I don't know, kind of stay in this place because you were first in the world. 

"But if you're not feeling happy with what you're doing or if you're feeling satisfied as she did after winning the Australian Open, then it's your own decision. And I think she's pretty brave that she made that decision."

You don't know what you've got until it's gone.

That is how tennis fans the world over will be feeling after women's world number one Ash Barty shockingly announced her retirement on Wednesday.

Barty noted that achieving a lifelong goal of winning Wimbledon last year and being "spent physically" were motivating factors behind her decision.

The 25-year-old bows out on top having lifted her home slam at the Australian Open back in January, and is a three-time singles major champion.

Following news of her retirement, Stats Perform has delved into some of Barty's best facts from a stellar career.

SECOND ONLY TO OSAKA IN SLAMS SINCE 2016

There have been 14 different singles grand slam champions in a stacked women's game since 2016.

In that time, Barty has women three major titles – the second most alongside Angelique Kerber. Indeed, the only player to have more in the women's game over that period is Naomi Osaka with four.

Barty retires on a 13-match winning streak (all on hard courts), a run that of course includes her triumph at the Australian Open.

It matches the best run of her career, with Barty proving 13 is not unlucky for all by racking up the same amount of wins on clay and grass between May and June 2019 – that stretch having seen her lift her first slam at the French Open.

KVITOVA A FAMILIAR FOE

Barty has mixed it with the best in the women's game but she has faced no player more than two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

She has faced the Czech on 10 occasions, with the two sharing five wins apiece. Barty has also beaten Sofia Kenin, Karolina Pliskova, Shelby Rogers and Kiki Bertens on five occasions.

Caroline Wozniacki (3) and Mona Barthel (2) are the only players Barty has faced more than once but never beaten in women's tennis.

Conversely, Barty has defeated each of Marketa Vondrousova, Camila Giorgi, and Saisai Zheng four times from as many attempts, her most matches against any players against whom she has maintained a 100 per cent win rate.

STILL GOING STRONG

Never has the saying "always leave them wanting more" been truer than in the case of Barty.

She has averaged seven aces per match in women's tennis in 2022, the joint-most of any player alongside China's Qinwen Zheng and Hailey Baptiste of the United States.

Barty has made 77 aces in total in 2022, the joint-sixth most of any player but 30 fewer than WTA leader Madison Keys (107).

Moreover, she has won 94 per cent of service games, the highest rate of any player and eight percentage points higher than second-ranked Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.

Barty won 71 per cent of her points when serving this calendar year, the highest rate of any player and four percentage points higher than second-most Rybakina.

Indeed, Barty did not lose a match in her shortened 2022 season, finishing 11-0 and winning 25 of her final 26 matches. 

114 WEEKS AND OUT

Barty is the second female player to step away from the game when ranked world number one, with Justin Henin having done so in 2008 after 61 consecutive weeks at the top.

Barty does so having racked up 114 straight weeks at the summit of the rankings, a run which represents the fourth longest in the history of the WTA Tour behind only Steffi Graf (186 weeks), Serena Williams (186) and Martina Navratilova (156).

Her accumulated total of 121 weeks represents the seventh highest of all time. Barty finishes her career with 15 singles titles in total and 12 in doubles, while she ends with a 305-102 win-loss singles record, and 200-64 in doubles.

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."

Ash Barty stunned the sporting world on Wednesday by announcing her retirement from tennis, bowing out as the top-ranked player in the women's game.

The popular 25-year-old has not featured since winning her home grand slam at the Australian Open in January, becoming the first female Aussie singles champion of the tournament since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

Announcing the news on her Instagram page, Barty cited achieving a lifelong goal of winning Wimbledon last year as a primary factor behind her decision as well as being "spent physically".

But Barty is by no means the first sporting hero to retire at the top of their game. Below we take a look at some other examples of those who have exited as champions.

ALAIN PROST

The 1993 Formula One season was largely dominated by one man – Williams driver Alain Prost. The Frenchman had to battle hard with the iconic Ayrton Senna at the start of the campaign, with them each taking three wins from the first six races of the season. However, a run of four straight victories for Prost were followed by a string of retirements for Senna, ensuring a fourth world title that provided the ideal ending to a glittering career.

ALEX FERGUSON

One of the most successful managers in world football, Alex Ferguson began a 27-year stint at Manchester United after an excellent spell at Aberdeen. The Scot won 28 major trophies at Old Trafford, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions Leagues. His final trophy came with top-flight glory in 2012-13, and 17 days later he brought the curtain down.

PEYTON MANNING

Considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Peyton Manning won his first Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007 and, after an injury-blighted season that raised doubts about his ability aged 39, he added a second with the Denver Broncos in 2016, bowing out on the ultimate high.

RICHIE MCCAW, DAN CARTER

New Zealand became the first nation to successfully defend the Rugby World Cup trophy by beating Australia 34-17 in the final at Twickenham in 2015, adding to their success on home soil four years prior. It proved the end of the line for captain Richie McCaw, who was at the time the most capped player in rugby union with 148 appearances for the All Blacks, as well as mercurial fly-half Dan Carter. Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Kevin Mealamu were also among an influential contingent that opted to end their international careers.

PETE SAMPRAS

In defeating Andre Agassi in the final of the 2002 US Open, the same opponent he overcame to win his first grand slam 12 years prior, Pete Sampras secured his place among the greats in men's tennis. It was a then-record 14th major singles title for a male player for the American, a milestone that has since been surpassed by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but he did not compete again and announced his retirement almost one year later.

PHILIPP LAHM, MIROSLAV KLOSE

At 31 you still have a number of years ahead of you in football. However, after lifting the World Cup trophy with Germany in 2014, Philipp Lahm decided to call time on his international career and focus on club football with Bayern Munich. The versatile full-back made 113 appearances for his country and was joined by fellow centurions Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose – whose tally of 71 international strikes is a German record – in switching focus to domestic matters.

MARION BARTOLI

A first grand slam at Wimbledon in 2013 appeared to be the breakthrough moment for a 28-year-old Marion Bartoli, but reality proved very different. The Frenchwoman defeated Sabine Lisicki – who had overcome pre-tournament favourites Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska – in the All England Club final, but announced her retirement during the Western and Southern Open just 40 days later due to persistent injuries. She attempted a comeback in 2018 but continued setbacks and injuries curtailed those plans.

NICO ROSBERG

Nico Rosberg had engaged in several intense battles with Lewis Hamilton before finally getting the better of his Mercedes team-mate to become Formula One world champion in the 2016 season. Still only 31, Rosberg had potentially several more years in F1 but the German instead opted to depart having reached the pinnacle of his sport.

Ash Barty has announced a shock retirement from tennis at just 25.

The Australian world number one revealed the surprising decision via her Instagram feed.

"I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled," she said.

"Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I'll always be grateful for the lifelong memories that we created together."

Confirming the stunning news in an interview with close friend Casey Dellacqua, Barty revealed how achieving her dream of winning Wimbledon in 2021 led her to start considering retirement.

"It's something I've been thinking about for a long time," she said. "Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and for me as an athlete when you work hard your whole life for one goal and I've been able to share that with so many incredible people but to be able to win Wimbledon, which was my one true dream that I wanted in tennis, that really changed my perspective.

"I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it. There was just a little part of me that wasn't quite satisfied, wasn't quite fulfilled, then came the challenge of the Australian Open, that for me feels like my perfect way to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.

"As a person this is what I want, I want to chase after some other dreams that I've always wanted to do."

Barty, who won her first singles grand slam at the French Open in 2019, has not played since winning the Australian Open final over Danielle Collins in January, and bids farewell to the sport knowing she has exhausted all of her physical energy.

"I just know that I am spent, physically I have nothing more to give," added Barty.

"That for me is success. I've given absolutely everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis. I'm really happy with that. That is my success.

"Ash Barty the person has so many more dreams that she wants to chase after that don't necessarily involve travelling the world, being away from my family, being away from my home, which is where I've always wanted to be.

"Now I think it's important I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete."

Ash Barty has announced a shock retirement from tennis at just 25.

The Australian world number one announced the decision via her Instagram feed.

"I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled," she said.

"Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I'll always be grateful for the lifelong memories that we created together."

Barty has not played since winning the Australian Open final over Danielle Collins in January.

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