Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka admitted she was in disbelief after a friend texted her saying that Ashleigh Barty was retiring from the game. On Wednesday, world No. 1 Barty announced she was retiring at the age of 25. Barty has been the best player in the game for the past three years and her decision to retire while in prime came as a shock to many.
“My friend texted me, she’s like, ‘Yo, do you know that Barty retired?’’’ and I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s weird.’ Then I went on Twitter and saw it was actually a thing," Osaka said, per the Miami Herald.
Osaka: Barty went out in style
Barty lifted her first Wimbledon title last July, before winning her first Australian Open title this past January. Last year, Barty finished the season ranked at No. 1 for the third consecutive year.
“It’s cool to leave the game when you’re No. 1. You feel like you have nothing left to prove, like you’ve accomplished everything you wanted to. … She clearly knew what she wanted to do," Osaka added.
Barty took to Instagram to announce her decision. "Today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis. I wasn’t sure how to share this news with you so I asked my good friend @caseydellacqua to help me.
I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I’ll always be grateful for the lifelong memories that we created together," Barty wrote on Instagram.
Osaka and Barty clashed four times on the WTA Tour. Barty defeated Osaka when they met the first time in Acapulco in 2014. Osaka got the revenge for years later as she beat Barty at the Australian Open. Barty defeated Osaka when they met in Nottingham in 2018, before the Japanese won their last meeting that came in Beijing in 2019.