BRISBANE: Ashleigh Barty was coy about her future on Thursday, telling media "you'll have to wait and see" as speculation mounts about what comes next after her shock retirement from tennis. The world number one and three-time Grand Slam champion stunned the tennis world on Wednesday by quitting aged just 25, saying she had fulfilled her dreams and was "spent physically".
It sparked an outpouring of praise for the down-to-earth Australian, led by Serena Williams. Barty spoke publicly for the first time on Thursday since her announcement but repeatedly deflected questions on her future plans. "You'll have to wait and see, I'm not giving you everything right now. It's alright, you can be patient. Patience is a virtue. We'll see," she told reporters in Brisbane.
Barty previously walked away from tennis to play in cricket's Big Bash League, with local media speculating a return to the crease could be on the cards, or even becoming a professional golfer or playing Australian Rules.
"I have seen some brilliant photoshops as a jockey, lawn bowls. I love sport, I'm a sport nut like a lot of Australians are. I'll be lured to it. I have always been an athlete in the sense of trying different things, but we'll see how we go," the multi-talented Barty joked.
She did confirm she wanted to work more with Indigenous Australians and spend time with her mum and dad, calling herself "a homebody". "I have always wanted to have the time to contribute more in other ways. And I think now I have got that opportunity and I've been fortunate enough to have so many opportunities given to me from tennis, and now I’m ready to really give back in ways that I'm passionate about," Barty said.
Marriage is on the horizon to long-term boyfriend Garry Kissick. A date has been set, but Barty would not say when. In a social media message on Wednesday, Barty said achieving her life-time dream of winning Wimbledon last year changed her perspective and sparked retirement thoughts.
But her coach Craig Tyzzer admitted she had been thinking about it as far back as her breakthrough Grand Slam success at the French Open in 2019. "The first thing she said to me was, 'Can I retire now?'. I sort of went, 'Hang on, I'm not ready for that'. It's not a shock to me. Ash does her own thing and when we started together she wanted to do it the way she wanted to do it. I think it's the right time," he said alongside Barty.