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Former No. 1 Ash Barty ‘comfortable’ in tennis retirement

Australia's Ashleigh Barty poses with the trophy after victory in her womens singles final match against Danielle Collins of the US on day thirteen of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 29, 2022. (Photo by AARON FRANCIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Ash Barty is enjoying her retirement.

The 26-year-old retired in early 2022 after winning the Australian Open in her home country. Speaking with the New York Times, the three-time Grand Slam champion said she’s been surprised by how “comfortable” she is after living such a structured life on the tennis circuit.

“I was a bit unsure how I would deal with that because I am a person who likes to be organized,” she said. “There was probably a little bit of fear in that, but overall, that hasn’t been an issue, a concern or a worry. What’s been most surprising in a good way is that I’ve slipped quite seamlessly into this life that’s just like everyone else, which is kind of always what I wanted.”

Barty had a big year in 2022 even after her surprise retirement. She got married and wrote a series of children’s books, and she also wrote an autobiography set to be released on Jan. 10 in the U.S.

While this isn’t the first time Barty has stepped away from the sport, this time feels final, as she accomplished what she set out to do.

“I achieved my dreams,” she said. “Everyone has different dreams and different ways of defining success. But for me, I knew that I gave everything I could, and I was fortunate to live out my ultimate childhood dream.

“It was time for me to explore what else was out there and not be, I suppose, greedy in a sense of keep playing tennis because that’s what I was expected to do, and then you blink and maybe the other things have passed you by.”

While she said last March that the door for a comeback was “closed but it’s not padlocked,” Barty is a little more resolute in her decision as 2023 begins.

“The more time I’ve had to sit and think and absorb this year, I think it is never in the sense of me competing professionally again,” she said. “But I’ll never not be involved in the sport. So I think that’s where I’ll always get my tennis fix, that taste of the sport that gave me so much.”