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Ash Barty tipped to take up professional golf after tennis retirement

Ash Barty tipped to take up professional golf after tennis retirement
The three-time grand slam winner could turn to another professional sport, having spent time with the Brisbane Heat after retiring from tennis the first time eight years ago

Ashleigh Barty has been tipped to pursue a third professional sporting career after retiring from tennis, according to her friend Rennae Stubbs.

The Australian made the shock announcement on Wednesday “to chase other dreams” less than two months after winning the Australian Open, the third Grand Slam of her career.

“I know I’ve done this before but in a very different feeling and I’m so grateful of what tennis has given me, all of my dreams plus more but I know the time is right now for me to step away and to put the rackets down,” Barty told former doubles partner and friend Casey Dellacqua.

Barty, the World No 1 depuis juin, 2019, initially retired eight years ago and enjoyed a spell in professional cricket with the Brisbane Heat during the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League.

And Stubbs, who won four Grand Slam doubles titles, believes Barty could pursue a similar path next.

“Tennis doesn’t make her happy anymorethe travel, the grind, the practice, all of it. She wants to move on to something else,” Stubbs told Channel 7’s Sunrise.

“Don’t be surprised if we see her walk down the fairway of an LPGA [golf] un événement. We know she can play cricket, we know that she’s basically a scratch golfer … she can kick a footy and can probably walk on for an AFLW team.

“I think she’s got a few things up her sleeve that she wants to achieve. And she’s young enough and smart enough [to make the change]."

Barty possesses elite skill in multiple sports and is a scratch golfer, with Tiger Woods previously praising her talent.

“She’s got a great swing, are you kidding me?” Woods said.

Her rapid improvement on the fairways and greens stems from tennis shutting down due to Covid, with her handicap slashed from 10 à 4 before clinching victory at the Brookwater Golf and Country Club’s annual women’s club championship.

"Mon père (Robert) was a very good golfer,” Barty told Australian Golf Digest. “He represented Australia as an amateur and was taking steps to go to college and go through that pathway to become a tour pro, but it didn’t work out for him in the end.

“He decided to stay home and ended up giving the game away. For more than 20 years he didn’t pick up a club and I always used to muck around in the backyard with whatever old clubs I could find. Puis, when I stopped playing tennis there for a while, it was an opportunity to play a little bit more golf and Dad and I started playing together a bit. I think I was hooked from that moment on.

“Golf has always been a sport that’s come quite naturally to me. je veux dire, even my mum was a very, very good golfer herself and her whole family loves to play. I guess if there was one sport that’s truly in the Barty genes, it’s probably golf, more so than tennis.”