Ashleigh Barty set to play at Wimbledon but she is not unretiring

Barty returns to Wimbledon three years after winning the title there.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ashleigh Barty set to play at Wimbledon but she is not unretiring
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Ashleigh Barty is set to hit some balls at The All England Club again as the former three-time Grand Slam champion has accepted to play a Wimbledon doubles invitational tournament with fellow former Australian player Casey Dellacqua. 

Barty, who just turned 28 in April, has been retired for over two years now and hasn't made any tennis appearances outside Australia since shockingly retiring from tennis at the age of 25 in 2022 March.

Just months before Barty decided to walk away from pro tennis, she accomplished her childhood dream of becoming a Wimbledon champion in 2021. Later, Barty admitted that after accomplishing that dream, she started feeling that her motivation for the game was fading away. 

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Over the last two years, Barty has been asked numerous times about the chances of returning to tennis. While the 28-year-old would always shut down any chances of unretiring, fans will still have a chance to watch the former world No. 1 in action this summer. 

And Barty's brief return will come by playing doubles with Dellacqua, who is a good friend of hers and also the doubles partner with which she made the 2013 Wimbledon doubles final. That year, Barty and Dellacqua dropped just one set en route to making the Wimbledon final in their team debut at The Championships before losing to Su-Wei Hsieh and Peng Shuai. 

Together, Barty and Dellacqua made three more Grand Slam doubles finals but surprisingly never won a Slam doubles title. 

When Barty was announcing her shocking retirement at the age of 25 while still being the top-ranked player in women's tennis, she was sitting alongside Dellacqua who helped her announce the decision. 

Dellacqua announces she is set to team up with Barty again at Wimbledon

Dellacqua, a former seven-time Grand Slam finalist in women's doubles, is now 39 years old and she has been retired since 2018. 

“I can announce that the band’s back together, ABCD (the initials that Dellacqua and Barty used as their team name),” Dellacqua announced on The AO Show Weekly. 

“This is why I love tennis, because it doesn’t matter at what level, I get an opportunity to play with my best mate who, yes, is an extremely good player and has won The Championships before.

“We’re just gonna have a great time and enjoy just being back together as friends on a tennis court, which we have loved to do our whole life… I’m actually really excited about it.

“We’re now in a different stage of our life. We’ve both got kids, we chat about different things, but hey, the tennis doesn’t change. The tennis is always there. And that’s what kind of is the glue that brought us together. So we’re really lucky.”

Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua
Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Barty on being in 'disbelief' after winning Wimbledon

After becoming a Grand Slam champion at the 2019 French Open, Barty's second Grand Slam came at 2021 Wimbledon. That year, Barty put up a very strong run to make her first Wimbledon final, in which she defeated Karolina Pliskova in three sets 6-4 6-7 (4) 6-3. 

Afterward in her press conference, Barty described lifting a Wimbledon trophy as "the most incredible thing" and admitted that she was in disbelief. 

"Yeah, it was the most incredible feeling I think I've ever experienced on a tennis court. There was certainly disbelief. I think I've worked so hard my whole career with my team and with people that mean the most to me to try and achieve my goals and my dreams. To be able to do that today was incredible," Barty said after becoming a Wimbledon singles champion in 2021. 

Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

By winning the 2021 Wimbledon trophy, Barty also became the first Australian woman to win The Championships since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. 

"I think it was. I think for Australians, there is such a rich history here at Wimbledon. For tennis players all over the globe, I feel like Wimbledon is where tennis was born essentially. This is where it all started. This is where so many hopes and dreams were kind of born," Barty said at the time.

"I think being able to understand that as I played here and played here as a junior, was able to experience that incredible week, and as I've said before, some of my toughest moments have come at Wimbledon. Now some of my most incredible moments have come here as well. I think it's just an iconic venue. It's an amazing club. To be able to learn so much from this place, I think I'm a very lucky girl."

Ashleigh Barty Wimbledon