World No.1 Ash Barty Announces Shock Retirement From Tennis At 25 - UBITENNIS
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World No.1 Ash Barty Announces Shock Retirement From Tennis At 25

In a move that has surprised many, Australia’s top player explains why she has decided that it is time to step away from the sport.

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) playing against Karolina Pliskova (CZE) in the final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 12 Saturday 10/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Ash Barty has stunned the tennis world by announcing her immediate retirement from the sport less than two months after winning the Australian Open title.

 

The 25-year-old hadn’t played on the Tour since becoming the first female player from her country since 1978 to win the Melbourne title. Previously she pulled out of events in North America due to fitness concerns. Barty made her shock announcement during a video interview with former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua which was uploaded onto her Instagram account. During the exchange the world No.1 said she was ‘spent’ and no longer had the ‘physical drive’ to continue playing.

“This is perfect for me. To share it with you, to talk to you about it with my team, my loved ones that I’ll be retiring from tennis. And that’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud and yeah, it’s hard to say, but 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,” said Barty.

Barty exits the sport whilst still at the top of the women’s game. She has continuously held the world No.1 ranking since September 2019 and has won four out of her last six tournaments played, including two Grand Slam tournaments. On the surface there was no indication that she was considering quitting the sport after a strong 2021 season when she was named WTA Player of the Year for the second time in her career. Last year she achieved a win-loss record of 42-8 and won a Tour-leading five titles.

It is not the first time Barty has stepped away from tennis after taking an ‘indefinite break’ towards the end of 2014 before returning again in 2016. However, this time the Australian explains that it is different.

“I know I’ve done this before, but in a very different feeling. And I’m so grateful to everything that tennis has given me. It’s given me all of my dreams possible, but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams. And yeah, and to put the racquets down.” She explained.

Ironically, it was her two most recent triumphs at the Grand Slams which helped shaped her future plans. Last year at Wimbledon she became the first Australian woman to claim the title since her mentor Evonne Goolagong in 1980. Coincidentally, during the tournament she was wearing a special outfit commemorating the 50th anniversary of Goolagong’s first Wimbledon win. Then in January Barty triumphed at her home grand slam for the first time in her career by winning seven straight matches without dropping a single set. Her first major title was won at the 2019 French Open.

“Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and for me as an athlete when you work so hard your whole life for one goal, and I’ve been able to share that with so many incredible people. But to be able to win Wimbledon which was my dream, my one true dream that I wanted in tennis, that really changed my perspective and I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it. There was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, wasn’t quite fulfilled,” said Barty.
“Then came the challenges of the Australian Open and I think that for me just feels like the most perfect way, my perfect way to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been. As a person this is what I want. This is I want to I want to chase after some other dreams that I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really really excited.”

Barty, who will turn 26 next month, ends her career with 15 WTA titles and more than 300 wins on the Tour. She has earned a total of $23,829,071 in prize money which is the 14th highest tally in history as of this week.

Ill never ever, ever stop loving tennis. It’ll always be a massive part of my life. But now I think it’s important that I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete.” She concludes.

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Ajla Tomljanovic reaches the Wimbledon quarter finals for the second consecutive year

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Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic reached the quarter final at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year after a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over France’s Alizé Cornet after 2 hours and 34 minutes. 

 

Tomljanovic had already beaten Cornet in three sets in the second round in last year’s edition of Wimbledon. 

The Australian player converted eight of his fourteen break points. She has become the first Australian player to reach consecutive Wimbledon quarter finals since Jelena Dokic advanced to the quarter finals in 1999 and the semifinals in 2000. 

Cornet reached her first Grand Slam quarter final at the Australian Open last January and broke Iga Swiatek’s 37-match winning streak in the third round at Wimbledon. 

Cornet earned a break to open up a 4-1 lead in the opening set.  Tomljanovic broke back in the seventh game for 3-4. Both players traded breaks in the eighth and ninth games. Cornet sealed the first set with a third break in the 10th game after 49 minutes. 

The second set started with a trade of breaks. Tomlanovic earned a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Cornet broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Tomljanovic broke in the ninth game at deuce and served out the second set 6-4 at deuce. 

Tomljanovic earned a break for 2-1 in the third set after two consecutive double faults by Cornet. The Aussie player broke again in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead. Cornet pulled one of the two breaks back in the eighth game for 3-5, but Tomljanovic broke for the fourth game to seal the decider on her third match point setting up a quarter final against Elena Rybakina, who beat Petra Martic 7-5 6-3. 

Rybakina beat Tomljanovic 6-4 6-0 in the first round of the Madrid Mutua Open last year. 

“Today was crazy. Cornet’s level was really high from the get-go. I think the second point of the first game was so long that I thought to myself: ‘I don’t know if I am going to physically be able to keep up with her. It felt like a coin toss. She fights until the end. She wasn’t giving me much. That’s why in the end I was a little in disbelief that I actually came through”, said Tomljanovic. 

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WIMBLEDON: Simona Halep Impresses After Troublesome Physical, Mental Battle

2022 has been far from straightforward for the Romanian but she is seeing light at the end of the tunnel at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

For Simona Halep reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon is an achievement in itself after her recent misfortunes. 

 

It all began at the Italian Open last year where she sustained a calf injury that would force her to miss two major events, as well as the Tokyo Olympic Games. Recovering from the setback was far from simple for the former world No.1 who soon found herself struggling mentally to the extent that she considered walking away from the sport altogether.

However, she managed to regain her desire and passion for tennis with the help of Patrick Mouratoglou who has officially been her coach since April. Halep continues to work her way back to top shape and her form at Wimbledon proves perseverance pays off. 

Playing her fourth round match against fourth seed Paula Badosa, Halep stormed to an emphatic 6-1, 6-2, win in just over an hour. She dropped only two points behind her first serve and hit 17 winners against just nine unforced errors. It is the third time this year she has beaten a top 10 player after previously beating Badosa on another occasion, as well as Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

“It means a lot that I’m back in the quarterfinals after I struggled so much with injuries and self-confidence,” said Halep.
“I’m working hard every day. I feel like if I do that, I will get better. I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. I’m really confident. It’s a pleasure to be on the court.”
“I think this helps me a lot to be able to do my best tennis. And everything comes together. I feel strong physically. I feel very good mentally.”

Speaking openly about her previous struggles, injury and confidence are two very different issues to deal with. But which one of those was the most difficult?

“It started with the injury, so I was not able to play for three, four months. Then I also lost the confidence, the belief that I can be good again, at the top. And I struggled for a long period,” she continued.
“But now it’s past. I’m here. I’m playing well. I’m feeling good on the court. So this is the most important thing, and I just want to focus on that.”

It is by no means a coincidence that Halep is thriving at Wimbledon considering her previous record. It was in 2019 when she produced a stunning display against Serena Williams to capture the title. Becoming the first and only player from her country to claim the women’s singles title. She has also reached the quarter-finals on three other occasions prior to this year.

“Grass is not an easy surface and you have to really connect with it. You have to get used to it.” Said Halep.
“I like it because it’s fast. I feel it. I feel stable on my feet. My legs are pretty strong for this surface. I feel my game fits it.”

As the only former Grand Slam champion left in the draw, Halep’s next test will be against Amanda Anisimova who defeated Harmony Tan 6-2, 6-3, in her fourth round match.

“I’m here to play as I did today, to focus on myself,” she states.
“I’m sure that I can play good tennis again. But it’s going to be a big challenge. It’s the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. I’m ready for it and I’m looking forward to it.”


Halep recently crushed Anisimova 6-2, 6-1, at the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. 

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Wimbledon: Quarter-Finalist Cristian Garin loves The Event But Not So much The Surface

The South American reacts to reaching his first major quarter-final.

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Cristian Garin (CHI) - Credit: AELTC/Ben Solomon

Just over a week ago, Cristian Gain admitted that he was ‘upset’ when he saw his draw for Wimbledon this year. 

 

The world No.43 was set to take on the formidable Matteo Berrettini in the first round who has won two grass-court titles in a row in recent weeks. However, the Italian was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. Instead, his opponent was the much lower-ranked Elias Ymer from Sweden who he defeated in straight sets. Since then, Garin hasn’t looked back.

On Monday at The All England Club, he staged an audacious comeback to defeat Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6(10-6). Not only did Garin bounce back from two sets down, he also saved two match points in the process. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last eight of the tournament since Fernando Gonzalez in 2005 and only the fourth in history to do so. 

“It is something very special for me. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament. Every time that I play this tournament is something special I feel,” said Garin.
“To be in the quarterfinals is a dream. I will try to enjoy it. I will try to give my best in the next round.”

Ironically Garin comes from a country where there are no grass courts. This year is his fifth appearance at Wimbledon and it was at the event where he made his Grand Slam debut back in 2017. However, like many other South Americans, clay is still his preferred surface.

“I said Wimbledon is my favorite tournament, not my favorite surface,” he jokes. 
“I think the grass is very fun for me. I have to change a little bit the way that I play. I think here on this surface you have to be aggressive.

Garin is one of only five ATP players from Chile currently ranked in the world’s top 500. Since April he has been coached by Pepe Vendrell who previously worked as a mentor to Roberto Bautista Agut and served as Spain’s captain in the ATP Cup. 

The next test for Garin will be a showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who defeated Brandon Nakashima in his fourth round match.

“He is for me one of the guys that I like to watch. He’s very good for tennis,” he said of Kyrgios.
“In these rounds, you play the best. For me, Nick is obviously one of the best on grass.”

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