World No. 1 tennis player Ash Barty, of Australia, spoke about her decision to take a break from tennis in 2014 in an interview with Kurt Fearnley for One Plus One, saying that success came too fast and too soon for her and that she wanted to be around her family and the people she loved the most.
Ash Barty on her decision to step back from tennis in 2014
The Australian achieved a lot of success early on during her first few years on the tour - including winning the junior Wimbledon singles title at the age of 15 and reaching the finals of 3 Grand Slam doubles events in 2013 with partner Casey Dellacqua on the pro circuit but decided to take a break from the sport after the 2014 US Open.
Durng the interview, Barty says, "In short, I think I needed just to find myself. I felt like I got twisted and maybe a little bit lost along the way in the first part of my career. I was very lucky to have a lot of success, but I'm still very much a homebody and I kind of lost my way a little bit with not being able to connect with my family.
We didn't lose that love or that care, but I felt like there was a bit of a split. I wanted to come back to that. I wanted to come back to my family and those who love me the most. My relationships with my family improved, my relationship with myself improved."
Barty also played semi-professional cricket with the Brisbane Heat during her time away from the game and says it was a discussion with her former partner Dellacqua that made her realise that she missed the sport of tennis and the competition .
"There was just something about that conversation [with Dellacqua] that I was like 'I miss testing myself, I miss competing. I miss trying to bring out the best in myself' As an athlete and a competitor, I really missed having that feeling of fulfillment when you know you've done all the work, you know you've done all the preparation and then it's just about having a crack."
Barty returned to the sport in 2016 and has since gone to win the French Open singles title - which was her first Grand Slam singles title and also become the world's top-ranked player. Photo from Ash Barty Twitter Account