Ash Barty details the moment she decided to QUIT tennis forever in her new book My Dream Time

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Ash Barty has opened up on her shock decision to quit tennis while at the top of the sport in an extract from her forthcoming autobiography, My Dream Time.

In the new book Barty reveals how the fierce desire that had made her a champion began to dim after she won Wimbledon in 2021. 

In an extract published by The Courier-Mail on Friday night, the three-time grand slam champion recalled a moment of fury at her manager Nikki Mathias’ house on the Gold Coast after she’d won Wimbledon. 

‘I don’t know what I’m playing for anymore. I think I’m done … I have got nothing left, no spark,’ Barty told Ben Mathias, Nikki’s husband and Barty’s training partner. 

She admits that after winning the one title she had always dreamed of since taking up the sport, the thought of more training and touring felt ‘pointless’.

After winning Wimbledon in 2021, Ash Barty said the thought of more training and touring felt ‘pointless’. Pictured, winning the 2018 WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai in China

'I don’t know what I’m playing for anymore. I think I’m done … I have got nothing left, no spark,' Barty told Ben Mathias, her training partner. Pictured, the cover of her new autobiography, My Dream Time

‘I don’t know what I’m playing for anymore. I think I’m done … I have got nothing left, no spark,’ Barty told Ben Mathias, her training partner. Pictured, the cover of her new autobiography, My Dream Time

‘I see now that all sport is mountain climbing,’ she writes. 

‘We set our sights on a summit and, step by step, we trudge towards that peak … But what do we do when we reach the pinnacle – when we finally win our Grand Final or our World Cup or our Wimbledon? Do we stop, sit, enjoy the view and breathe? Do we take the time to appreciate what we’ve done, and move on to something new? 

‘No. In sport, we simply return to base camp every year and begin the journey of attempting to summit once again.’

In the book Barty goes into detail about how she overcame periods of depression, self-doubt and expectation from the Australian public to become the number one female player in the world.

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At some points she would ‘on occasion (fall) to pieces when it all became too much’, according to the book.

Barty said she was determined she would not make a comeback and also scotches rumours she plans a career in professional golf, saying she was happy after marrying partner Gary Kissick (pictured) and living at her home at Springfield, Ipswich, Queensland

Barty said she was determined she would not make a comeback and also scotches rumours she plans a career in professional golf, saying she was happy after marrying partner Gary Kissick (pictured) and living at her home at Springfield, Ipswich, Queensland

She writes that having made the decision to prematurely end her career, she become ‘robotic’… and it was this change in attitude which led to her historic Australian Open victory against Danielle Collins earlier this year. 

In the period between winning 2021 Wimbledon and 2022 Australia Open titles, Barty was in the middle of a training session on her exercise bike when she suddenly quit mid-ride, ‘something I have never done before’.

‘I don’t quit. Ever,’ she said. 

‘I’m physically capable but cannot be knackered. This sounds like a little thing, but it’s not – it’s a clear red flag.’

After announcing her retirement decision in March, which her team had remarkably been able to keep quiet, she reveals she received messages from high-profile names including golfer Adam Scott, actor Hugh Jackman, then Opposition leader Anthony Albanese and then Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

But she only took one call – that of fellow Indigenous trailblazer and hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

Writing her memoirs was an emotional process for Barty, who admitted tears were shed as she relived previously untold stories about her three Grand Slam triumphs, her ultra-tight family, the brutal isolation of being a teenager on tour, her switch from tennis to cricket mid-career, winning Wimbledon with a 10cm tear in her abdomen and much more.

“I tried to keep it raw and honest and not hide anything,’’ Barty told News Corp.

“We put it together in a way where we tried to let everyone in.’’

Barty said she was determined she would not make a comeback and also scotches rumours she plans a career in professional golf, saying she was happy after marrying partner Gary Kissick and living at her home at Springfield, Ipswich.

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‘The last six or seven months of my life have been everything I have ever wanted, she write. ‘I’m loving the way my life is at the moment.’

Barty earned US$23.8 million (AU$37.75 million) in prize money and millions more in sponsorships, making her the 14th best-paid female player in history.

She made US$3 million from endorsements last year and was the eighth-highest paid female athlete in 2021, pocketing US$6.9 million, according to Forbes

Her total career earnings are estimated to be around the US$53 million-mark (AU$70 million).

 

My Dream Time: A Memoir Of Tennis & Teamwork by Ash Barty is due to be published on November 2.

ASH BARTY’S RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT 

I will be retiring from tennis.

‘It’s the first time I’ve actually said that out loud and yeah, it’s hard to say.

‘But I’m so happy and I’m so ready and I just know at the moment in my heart for me as a person, this is right.

‘I know I’ve done this before, but in a very different feeling.

‘I’m so grateful to everything that tennis has given me. It’s given me all of my dreams, plus more, but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the rackets down.

CASEY DELLACQUA: Why now?

ASH BARTY:  ‘It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

‘I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments. And Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and for me as an athlete when you work so 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 dream, – the one true dream that I wanted in tennis – that really changed my perspective.

‘I just had 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.

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‘And then came the challenge of the Australian Open and that for me just feels like the most perfect way, 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.

‘I’ve always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really, really excited.

DELLACQUA: Hard for a lot of people to understand. You’re probably one of the most marketable athletes in the world. How difficult was it to come to this decision?

BARTY: ‘There was a perspective shift in me in the second phase of my career that my happiness wasn’t dependent on the results.

‘Success for me is knowing that I’ve given absolutely everything, everything I can.

‘I’m fulfilled, I’m happy, and I know how much work it takes to bring the best out of yourself.

‘I just don’t have that in me anymore. I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level anymore.

‘I am spent. I just know physically I have nothing more to give and that, for me, is success.

‘I’ve given absolutely everything I can to this beautiful sport of tennis and I’m really happy with that.

‘I know that people may not understand it. And that’s okay, I’m okay with that because I know that for me, Ash Barty, the person has so many dreams that she wants to chase after that don’t necessarily involve traveling the world, being away from my family being away from my home, which is where I’ve always wanted to be.

‘I’ll never ever ever stop loving tennis. It’ll always be a massive part of my life.

‘But now I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person and not Ash Barty the athlete.

‘It was hard but it’s right and I know that brought me lots of comfort knowing that this is right for me.’ 

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