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Ash Barty addresses persistent rumour around tennis retirement

Ash Barty is pictured during her interview on the Today show.
Ash Barty says that despite persistent questions, she doesn't ever plan to play any sport professionally again. Picture: Channel 9/Today

Ever since announcing her shock retirement from tennis earlier this year, Ash Barty has faced one persistent question.

Are you coming back, and if so, when?

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Not only that, but the former World No.1 and three-time grand slam champion has also fielded questions about a potential switch back into cricket, or even a tilt at professional golf.

While she has repeatedly played down talks of such a move, in an interview with the Today show on Thursday Barty gave an unequivocal answer to all of those questions.

The 25-year-old told interviewer Ally Langdon she would never play any professional sport again, adding that she wanted sport to be no more than a hobby.

"I'm not going any where, it's just I'm no longer travelling around, hitting a little yellow fluffy ball," she said.

"I can contribute in other ways.

"I love golf, but much to everyone's disappointment, I will never be playing professionally.

"I will never be playing another professional sport. I've got other things that I would love to do.

"I love it as a hobby, but it's not for me."

Barty has been keeping plenty busy since her retirement, releasing a series of children's books titled 'Little Ash'.

However the 26-year-old said that after spending several years on tour and keeping a rigourous training regimen, she was now enjoying living a somewhat slower paced life with partner Gary Kissick.

"Just actually being in my kitchen, being in my house - cleaning - I find it really therapeutic," she said.

"I love cooking, I love just being home."

Ash Barty opens up about grand slam success after retirement

While many would be forgiven for believing Barty's win on home soil at this year's Australian Open might take the cake as her career highlight.

But it was actually her win at Wimbledon in 2021 that Barty felt was her highest achievement.

"I feel like I'm going to break some Aussies' hearts here but Wimbledon was the one, Wimbledon was the one that I've always wanted the most," she said.

"It's the feelings and the memories that you keep forever - the trophies and accolades mean nothing, it is the moments, the memories, the emotions that you create through that opportunity is the most exciting."

Barty officially retired from tennis in March, saying she felt it was simply the right time for her to walk away from the sport.

The Queenslander took a hiatus from professional tennis in 2014, feeling burned out by the constant travel.

She returned to Australia and made a brief foray into domestic T20 cricket in the Big Bash League, before returning to the court in 2016.

The 26-year-old said when she retired in March 2022 that the feeling she had when making the decision was worlds away from where she was back in 2014.

Ash Barty is seen celebrating after winning the 2021 Australian Open.
Ash Barty won the 2022 Australian Open, defeating American Danielle Collins in straight sets to become the first Australian to win their home grand slam since 1978. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

“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,” Barty said in an interview with Casey Dellacqua.

“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 the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down.”

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