Andy Murray leads tributes to Ash Barty as Australian tennis star tipped for career switch

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There has been an outpouring of support for Ash Barty after the Australian tennis star announced she would be retiring from the sport with Andy Murray among those to speak out. Barty has been the one to beat on the WTA Tour having held the No 1 ranking for an incredible 114 consecutive weeks.

But the 25-year-old has shocked the sporting world after announcing on social media that she would be retiring from tennis.

“I’m so happy and I’m so ready. I just know at the moment in my heart, for me as a person, this is right,” she said. “I know that people may not understand it. I’m OK with that.

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

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Barty won three major titles in her career, the latest coming at this year’s Australian Open. In winning the Grand Slam in Melbourne, Barty became the first home player to win the Australian Open men’s or women’s singles title in 44 years.

Her decision has sent shockwaves among her fellow professionals, with former British No 1 Murray weighing in. He wrote on Twitter: “Happy for @ashbarty gutted for tennis. What a player.”

Simona Halep was taken aback by Barty’s decision, admitting she was in “tears” after hearing the announcement. She said: “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.”

Petra Kvitova, who faced Barty 10 times on the WTA Tour, was devastated to see the Australian leave the sport.

“Ash, I have no words… actually you are showing your true class leaving tennis in this beautiful way,” Kvitova tweeted. “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!”

With Barty now retiring from the sport, Iga Swiatek is set to become the new world No 1.

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