Late Tuesday evening (Wednesday afternoon in Australia), three-time major singles champion Ashleigh Barty shocked the tennis world when she announced her retirement from the WTA Tour at the age of 25 on her Instagram.
Barty had won two of the last three majors in maintaining her place atop the rankings, celebrating her 114th consecutive week as world No. 1 with Monday's published rankings and 121st overall. She joins Justine Henin as the only WTA players to retire while occupying the No. 1 ranking.
Peers from her sport jumped to social media to share their congratulations, surprise and most of all, love for the Queenslander. She previously took an 18-month hiatus from tennis following the 2014 US Open, but said this occasion was "different" in the interview with Casey Dellacqua she posted.
"I’ll never, ever, ever stop loving tennis. It’ll always be a massive part of my life but now I think it’s important I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person," she said.