MELBOURNE (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE) – Former tennis world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has dashed hopes she will make a return to professional sport, after speculation that the Australian could switch to golf.
The 26-year-old three-time Grand Slam winner stunned the sporting world with her bombshell retirement in March, just weeks after becoming the first home Australian Open champion in 44 years.
Barty had been coy on what she would do next, but has always been a keen golfer, winning the Brookwater Golf Club women’s title near Brisbane in 2020 and playing the Icons Series exhibition in the United States in April.
It heightened speculation that the multi-talented Australian, who has also played cricket in the Women’s Big Bash League, could take up golf seriously.
But in an interview with Melbourne radio late on Monday (July 18), she put the rumours to bed, ruling out playing any form of professional sport again.
“You guys just can’t accept that I don’t want to play professional sport any more,” Barty said.
“I love golf, it’s a hobby of mine. It will not be my profession, I have no intention of making it my profession but I hack around once a week if I can.
“There’s no need, there’s no desire for me to play professional sport, particularly golf. I love it as a walkaround with my girlfriends and friends but yeah, not for me.”
Barty also said she did not even watch fellow tennis star Elina Rybakina clinch her Wimbledon crown earlier this month.
“I didn’t watch this year’s Wimbledon finals,” she told The Guardian.
“Sorry to disappoint.”
Late last year, Barty became engaged to long-term boyfriend Garry Kissick and since her retirement has released a series of “Little Ash” children books.
“Supporting kids’ education is something I’m passionate about and if I can help encourage new readers, that will make me very happy,” she said last month.