Barty names his successor: “I don’t think there is anyone better for one than Swiatek”

Australian tennis player Ashleigh Barty and Poland's Iga Swiatek greet each other after their match at the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open.

The tennis world continues to reel from the shocking news of Australian tennis player Ashleigh Barty retiring from the pro at the age of 25. An announcement that the tennis player herself made public in the early hours of this Wednesday and that she wanted to clarify this Thursday at a press conference.

Barty reviewed some of the most emotional moments he has experienced in his last tournaments, such as the Australian Open in which he lifted his last title. “That moment in the Australian Open final was incredible and I was able to share it with a lot of people. I had never played in front of an audience like that night in the Australian Open final. It was a lot of fun enjoying it with them and also with my team. It was a brilliant way to end my career.”

The Ipswich tennis player also had words of endearment to the Australian public for their affection throughout her career. “I have been very fortunate to have so much love and support here in Australia and so many people have made my career more fun. Being able to share this experience with them has made it better. The Australian public accepted me despite my mistakes and despite my not being perfect, and that made it all the more fun. It was a nice Australian Open for all of us. Know? We saw it as a last chance to see what we could do. And it was very nice.”

Despite retiring as a professional, Barty affirmed that she will continue to be linked to the world of tennis to help the little ones who want to practice this sport. “I will never stop loving my sport and will continue to hit tennis balls. But I will no longer do it selfishly to advance my career. It will be for other reasons. I can’t wait to be with the children and contribute in other ways and I am so excited to have more time to do so. AND I can’t wait to get out on the courts and teach my nephews how to play, and I hope that tennis brings them the same love as it does me. See the smiles on the children’s faces, give them the opportunity to play tennis... it reminds me of what it was like for me to learn to play this sport. And it’s a nice way for me to keep contributing.”

On a hypothetical return to the slopes, Barty leaves the door open, but believes that, right now, that moment is far away. “You can never say never, but the option of a possible return is quite far away. Playing my last match at the Australian Open has been an incredible moment and it will be a memory I will never forget.”

Finally, Barty did not hesitate to name who is running as his successor on the circuit after confirming that he will give up the number one ranking on April 4 after the WTA 1,000 in Miami. “I don’t think there is a better person than Swiatek to be the next number one. She is incredible, a great tennis player and the way she displays her energy on the court is impressive. I have loved training with her, play with her and also spend a lot of time with her team. She was one of the first to write to me. I think she deserves it and I hope that she can go up to number one and that she can go her way and pursue her career goals and her dreams.”

Swiatek: “I was crying for a long time because of Barty’s withdrawal”

The news of Barty’s withdrawal also reached the WTA 1,000 in Miami and there, Iga Swiatek revealed that the announcement made by the Australian tennis player caused her quite sadness. “You know I like to cry, so I cried for a long time because of Barty’s retirement. It seemed very confusing to me. But it also made me sad because when I think of a complete player in terms of physical, mental and talent for tennis, I always thought in barty and I always noticed her, and still do. It has been lovely to be able to compete against her in recent years and now I try to play better and be able to improve her ‘slice’ of her. We will miss her, for sure.”

On the options of going up to number one after Barty’s departure (winning a match in Miami would be worth it), Swiatek prefers not to think much about it and focus on the WTA 1,000 in Miami. “I was blown away by her announcement. And my team told me that it was possible that I could be the next number 1 in the world. Honestly, when we thought about the situation and read the news and all the rules that may apply, we realized that there is no point in thinking about it now because we have little time to prepare for another tournament. We have to be focused on our work.”

He also spoke about Barty’s withdrawal from his last rival, the American Danielle Collinswhom she defeated in the final of the Australian Open, and who stated that Barty’s withdrawal is a sign of the empowerment of women in tennis. “I think it’s great that she retired at 25 years old. In what profession could you do something like that? There aren’t many. It’s an incredible thing for our sport. And this really is a way to show how tennis empowers women. Barty has been at the top of tennis for a long time. She’s been amazing, but I’m excited to see what Ashleigh does off the track and what the next steps in her life will be.”

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