Ashleigh Barty honestly tells why motherhood is 'undoubtedly' better than any Slam

Former three-time Grand Slam champion Barty welcomed her first child in July.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Ashleigh Barty honestly tells why motherhood is 'undoubtedly' better than any Slam
© Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde

Ashleigh Barty reveals she "undoubtedly" finds motherhood more rewarding and better than any of her Grand Slam wins because it requires "a relentless" effort and commitment to raising a kid but also brings extreme joy and happiness. 

In 2022 January, Barty became the first Australian woman since 1978 to win an Australian Open singles title. For Barty, it was her third Grand Slam title after also winning the 2019 French Open and 2021 Wimbledon. 

Less than two months after clinching her third Grand Slam victory, Barty shockingly retired from pro tennis at the age of 25. Barty's move left the tennis community absolutely shocked as the Australian was coming off a Grand Slam win and she was also the top-ranked player in the women's game. 

When explaining the reasons behind her retirement decision, Barty said that it was time for her to give herself to some other things in life. A couple of months later, Barty married her long-term partner Garry Kissick. After announcing her pregnancy in 2023 January, Barty also announced the birth of her first child, a baby boy Hayden, in July. 

During a conversation with Body and Soul, Barty was asked if "motherhood is even better than any of her trophies or historic Australian Open win."

“Without a doubt, not even a comparison. Absolutely.” Barty answered. “There were plenty of times throughout my career when I thought training was hard or I had some tough days, but it just goes to a whole new level when you become a mum.”

Ashleigh Barty and son Hayden
Ashleigh Barty and son Hayden© Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde
 

Barty: It's a completely different ball game when you are raising a kid

When Barty retired, it was clear that one of her biggest goals was to start a family. Around 16 months after retiring, Barty got married and also became a mother for the first time in her life. 

Before welcoming her first child, Barty had a chance to observe her two older sisters and how they were raising their two kids. While it helped Barty in some ways and gave her a sneak peek into what to expect in motherhood, she admits she only got the full package after starting to raise her own kid and fully understanding what it actually means to care and look after someone 24/7. 

While Barty acknowledges raising a kid can be "relentless" at times, she would not trade it for anything as she describes it as "the best thing" she has ever done. 

“I was very lucky to be able to watch my sisters raise their two kids, so I think I was always sensitive to how hard but also how rewarding it is,” Barty said.

“But it’s a completely different ball game when it’s your own child. It’s relentless – it’s 24/7 – but it’s so rewarding and, honestly, it’s the best thing that I’ve ever done. I think it’s incomparable to being an athlete.”

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty© Getty Images Sport - Russell Freeman
 

Chances of Barty playing pro tennis again?

In March, it will be exactly two years since Barty announced she was walking away from pro tennis. While Barty has indicated several times that she does not plan on returning to pro tennis, some are still holding hope that the former three-time Grand Slam champion changes her mind and makes a comeback.

Over the last few years, there have been several cases of a WTA player making a strong post-pregnancy return to tennis. And some believe that Barty would certainly be the next case of a successful post-pregnancy comeback to tennis. However, Barty playing again is highly unlikely to happen. 

At this past Australian Open, Barty visited Melbourne Park. To no one's surprise, Barty was asked about the chances of her making a tennis comeback. Answering the question, Barty pretty candidly admitted that she could return to tennis tomorrow if she wanted but that's just not something she wants to do. 

“There’s nothing keeping me away. It’s not like I’m doing things to keep myself away from the court,” Barty said at the Australian Open when asked about the possibility of returning to tennis.

“I want to be there to raise Hayden and I want to be able to enjoy that.

“That’s what I want to do, plain and simple. That’s where my priorities lie now.

“I absolutely love being a mum. There’s nothing else that I prefer to do.”

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt
 

Since Barty's retirement, Australian women's tennis hasn't had much success. Currently, Australia has only one female player ranked inside the top-100 - Arina Rodionova. This week, 34-year-old Rodionova made history by becoming the oldest top-100 debutant - she rose to a career-high ranking of No. 97 on this week's updated WTA rankings list.

Ajla Tomljanovic, who was the Australian No. 1 for the majority of time after Barty's retirement, is currently ranked at No. 221 in the world after being limited to just four tournaments in 2023 due to knee surgery.

In one of her interviews from late 2022, Barty spoke very highly of Tomljanovic, saying Australia "can be very proud of her" and added that a fully healthy and ready Tomljanovic can even contend for a Grand Slam title. 

Ashleigh Barty
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