Australian tennis legend Ashleigh Barty is set to make a brief sporting comeback as the former three-time Grand Slam champion has signed up to compete in a pro-am golf tournament in New Zealand.
Barty, 27, has been away from the pro sport for nearly two years now after shockingly walking away from tennis in 2022 March. Since retiring from pro tennis, Barty has been focused on some other things in life, most notably getting married and welcoming her first kid last year.
Over the last two years, Barty has indicated numerous times that returning to pro tennis is not in the cards for her. Most recently, Barty said during this year's Australian Open that nothing is keeping her away from returning to pro tennis but it is just that she has no real interest in playing the game professionally again.
While Barty returning to tennis is unlikely to happen, the 27-year-old is preparing to compete at the New Zealand Open, which is slated to take place between February 29 - March 03 at Queenstown's Millbrook Resort
Barty ecstatic about playing in a pro-am golf tournament in New Zealand
"Having the opportunity to play in the pro-am event in 2024 is something I'm excited about, though I definitely need to start practicing" Barty said in a statement.
"Golf has always been a passion of mine, I feel fortunate to be able to play in events like the New Zealand Open and experience an incredible course like Millbrook.
"I imagine that first tee shot in front of everyone will be quite nerve-wracking, but once the first ball hits the fairway, hopefully things should settle down. My aim is to go out there and enjoy every minute of it and hopefully make the weekend pro-am cut."
Barty, a former world No. 1 in tennis, is known very well as someone who likes to try herself in different sports. After taking a break from pro tennis in 2014, Barty briefly played cricket professionally before returning to tennis in 2016.