CELEBRITY

Inside Ash Barty’s epic tennis comeback

"My decision was right for me."
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Tennis champion Ash Barty has squashed rumours of a comeback more than two years on from her shock retirement.

The 28-year-old is currently in London for the prestigious Wimbledon tennis tournament, where she is working as a commentator for the BBC, and participated in an invitational exhibition doubles match.

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Ash and Garry recently celebrated their son Hayden’s first birthday. (Credit: Instagram)

Speaking with the Today Show in July 2024, the proud Ngarigo woman opened up about how “strange” it was to walk through the gates of Wimbledon once more, three years on from her 2021 victory at the women’s tournament.

“It was amazing to walk through those gates again and to know something really special had happened there. It will always be a massive part of my life.”

Despite this, when quizzed about a full-time return to the court, Ash was quick to share that professional tennis was “not for me”.

“I had the most fulfilling journey in my career as a tennis player and now I’m just beginning that journey as a mum, and I’m very much loving it. My decision was right for me.”

In an additional interview with Sunrise conducted on the same day, Ash reiterated that her return to the iconic grass court was purely for “fun and enjoyment” and was in no shape or form an official “comeback” to the sport.

“I had such a full career, such an amazing journey, [motherhood] is just the next chapter.”

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The Barty party is back! (Credit: Wimbledon)

Whispers that the sporting legend was plotting a return to professional tennis first started swirling at the tail end of 2023. But it wasn’t until late June that it was confirmed that Ash would be picking up a racquet once more.

The official Wimbledon social media account wrote on June 20 that they were “delighted” to have Ash back at Wimbledon once more.

“Reunited with the Wimbledon grass,” officials for the tennis tournament penned.

“Delighted to have our 2021 singles champion Ash Barty returning for this year’s Invitational Doubles,” they added.

This will be the first time the three-time grand slam champion has picked up a racquet to play on the world stage since she farewelled the sport for good in March 2022.

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Ash Barty and her husband Garry Kissick. (Credit: Getty)

The exhibition match took place on Tuesday, July 9. Her husband Garry and 18-month-old baby boy Hayden watched on from the spectator stands.

Over the course of her career, Ash not only ended Australia’s 41-year drought at Wimbledon, but also took home the trophy at both the French Open in 2019, and the Australian Open in 2022 where she was ranked world No.1.

Despite her success and her young age, she has repeatedly said that she has no intention of making a full-time return to the sport.

We are certain, however, that she will continue courting commentating gigs for various tennis events in Australia and abroad.

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