Barty’s combination of crushing groundstrokes and a truncated backhand, which is as close to a perfect shot as it were, made it at times irrepressible.
Nowhere was this more evident than at the Australian Open in January – the site of Barty’s last of three Grand Slam titles – where she did not drop a set en route to becoming the first home champion since 1978.
With time on her side, the only question that remained right after her victory at the Australian Open was: How many Grand Slams could she win?
Despite her success, Barty said she had been considering retirement “for a long time”. In fact, she admitted that her decision to retire was only reinforced by her victories at the Australian Open and Wimbledon last year.
“Last year’s Wimbledon changed a lot for me as a person and as an athlete,” Barty said in her retirement video. “When you work hard all your life for one goal. To be able to win Wimbledon, which is my dream, the only real dream I ever wanted in tennis, that really changed my view.”
Barty became the second woman in history to retire when she ranked first in the world, after Justin Henin in 2008, but it’s not the first time she’s walked away from the sport.
In 2014, four years after starting her tennis career, she took a 21-month break at the age of 18, saying at the time that “it was too fast.”
The Australian showed that her remarkable talents were not limited to the court as she played cricket professionally for the Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big League Bash.
She’s also a keen golfer and seems to be pretty good at that too. In 2020, Barty won the Women’s Championship at Brookwater Golf Club near Brisbane, and 15-time main winner Tiger Woods is said to have once described it as a “fantastic swing”.
The coronavirus pandemic during the 2021 tennis season posed unprecedented challenges, as travel restrictions in Australia meant that Barty was unable to return to his home country for most of the year.
Barty won Wimbledon during that time but realized – even in achieving her lifelong goal – that something was missing.
“I got that gut feeling after Wimbledon and I talked to my team a lot about it,” she said. “There was a small part of me that wasn’t completely satisfied, and it wasn’t quite fulfilled. There was a shift in perspective in the second phase of my career, as my happiness wasn’t dependent on results.”
There is no doubt that her tennis presence will be sorely missed.
At a time when the careers of some of the all-time greats – such as the Williams sisters, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – are nearing their end, Barty has been at the forefront of the current group of superstars looking to take the title. Sports forward.
But her passing opens the door for any number of players in the women’s game to take a risk, claiming they are the best in the world.
Iga Swiatek, the recent Indian Wells champion, would probably be the best at doing it and would ascend to the world number 1 seed after Barty’s departure. The 20-year-old is already a major champion, having won the 2020 French Open to become the first Polish player in history to win a Grand Slam title.
Barty quit tennis after dominating every surface, winning Wimbledon, the French Open, and the Australian Open, winning 15 titles in his career. She will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the sport’s most talented players.
“I know how much work it takes to get the best out of you,” Barty said. “I’ve said that to my team so many times, I don’t have that in me anymore.
“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional desire, all it takes to challenge yourself at the highest level anymore, I just know I’ve spent. I only know physically, I don’t have anything else to offer that for me is success.”
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