- She says that women’s tennis has evolved and adapted
- Barty points out that these players seamlessly switch between different strategies
- The three-time Grand Slam winner said her return to tennis requires so much
Retired Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty has expressed her admiration for Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur even as she rules out a return to tennis.
She says that women’s tennis has evolved and adapted, with an increasing blend of styles in the top 10 WTA players.
By just watching from the sidelines, Barty points out that these players seamlessly switch between different strategies and employ different tactics on demand.
The three-time Grand Slam winner said her return to tennis requires so much effort in training to be on tour. And without training, she can’t get to the levels that Sabalenka is at now with her powerful serves while Jabeur and Swiatek are formidable competitors.
“The game’s adapted, it’s grown, there’s more of a blend in the top 10 of women that can use different styles, go to plan B and C to adapt. Big hitters like Aryna [Sabalenka] are doing well, others are using flair like Ons [Jabeur] and Iga [Swiatek]. Come Brisbane International time, there’s going to be a mix of different styles that creates some really exciting match-ups,” she told Casey Dellacqua, a former tennis player during an interview.
Barty surprised her fans with her retirement announcement shortly after winning the 2022 Australian Open. She was 25 and she joined Justine Henin as the only other women’s tennis player to retire while holding the coveted world No. 1 ranking.
In explaining her choice, she candidly said that she no longer possess the physical stamina, the emotional desire, and the sheer determination required to continuously compete at the level of tennis.
However, she is happy that she gave it her all which reflects in her three Grand Slams. The Australian won Wimbledon in 2021, French Open (2021) and the Australian Open (2022).
Further, she accumulated an impressive collection of 15 WTA singles titles, leaving an enduring mark on the sport.
Months after retiring, Barty gave birth to her first child in July 2022 and she says her new role as a mother is equally demanding which leaves her with no time for tennis.
“I’m certainly not coming out of retirement. Pat [Rafter] may be more likely than me. I don’t have the time – I don’t have the time to train, I don’t have the time to prepare, and I have so many great memories out on this court, and now I just get to create new memories,” she said.
She still follows tennis closely because it is something she loves despite not being in a position to play.
Meanwhile, Barty admitted to struggling with body image issues as a young player. She spoke out in a bid to offer consolation to others who experience insecurities about their appearance.
The Australian-born tennis star recalled having “huge concerns” about her image in her teens. Barty disliked the effect training would have on her body. Being on tour alone even made it worse.
Additionally, she would make negative comparisons to other players in her circle. She often referred to them as stunning goddesses who made her hide and change in secret since the locker room is public.