Emma Raducanu shares sweet Ash Barty gesture as world No 1 announces shock retirement
Emma Raducanu has shared one of her memories with Ash Barty after the Australian surprised the sporting world by announcing her retirement from tennis. Barty is the current world No 1 and reigning champion of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open, but admitted she had nothing left to give after achieving her biggest dreams in the sport.
Barty announced she was retiring with immediate effect on Wednesday, in a video interview with long-time friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua. The world No 1 had started the year ith a perfect 11-0 record, winning the Adelaide WTA 500 and the Australian Open, ending a 44-year wait for an Aussie women’s singles champion.
She had already confirmed she would be temporarily taking some time away after withdrawing from Indian Wells and Miami but as the Miami Open got underway, Barty instead announced she would be stepping away from tennis entirely. The 25-year-old was arguably in the prime of her career and was the two-time defending champion at this week’s event but admitted she was “spent” and looking forward to the next chapter of her life.
“I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself. I’ve said it to my team multiple times – `I just don’t have that in me anymore.’ Physically, I have nothing more to give. I’ve given absolutely everything I have to this beautiful sport of tennis, and I’m really happy with that,” she explained in her announcement video.
The announcement sent shockwaves around the WTA Tour as everyone from Andy Murray to Simona Halep and Serena Williams sent messages of support to the world No 1. Emma Raducanu has joined in on the tributes and shared her own touching memory with the three-time Grand Slam champion.
“I took a lot of inspiration from her,” the 19-year-old said. Barty had previously left the sport when she was 18-years-old and gone to play cricket before returning two years later and the young Brit praised her decision, adding: “if you take time off, you come back, you’re hungry, you’re ready. She basically cleaned up when she came back.”
Although Raducanu’s breakthrough only came at last year’s US Open, where she won the title as the 150th-ranked qualifier in what was Barty’s last event of the season before she returned for just two tournaments in January before retiring, the world No 13 admitted the Aussie had helped her out with a different sport in the time they’d spend together.
“She was always really friendly to be around in the locker room. She taught me how to kick an Aussie football once,” Raducanu shared. The Bromley local is set to face either Katerina Siniakova of qualifier Rebecca Marino in her first match in Miami, having received a bye to the second round. And Barty’s early retirement has already got the teenager thinking. “I want to be in the game till I’m in my 30s,” she said on Wednesday.