Ash Barty’s feelings clear on Serena Williams retirement U-turn after motherhood

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Caroline Wozniacki’s return to professional tennis after becoming a mother has delighted her old friend Ash Barty, but the Australian insists that she has no intention of following her lead.

Three-time Grand Slam winner Barty pulled a surprise when she announced her retirement from the game in March 2022 at the age of 26, becoming only the second player ever to quit the sport whilst being world No 1, after Justine Henin.

She has since married Australian golfer Garry Kissick and gave birth to their son in July this year. Wozniacki returned to the WTA Tour this summer after a two-year hiatus, during which she gave birth to two children.

She reached the fourth round of the US Open this month to much acclaim but was defeated by eventual champion Coco Gauff. The Dane’s return mirrors that of all-time great Serena Williams, who rejoined the tour after having her first child, but although Barty was delighted to see he old friend back out on the court, she is more than content to concentrate on motherhood.

Speaking at a celebration event marking the return of the Brisbane International at the Queensland Tennis Centre, alongside fellow Oz tennis legend Pat Rafter, Barty said: “I don’t have the time to train, prepare and have so many good memories on this court and I get to create new ones now. Certainly not. Pat might be more likely than me (to make a comeback).”

Williams’ own exit and return from tennis was nothing short of dramatic. She won the Australian Open in January 2017 before discovering that she had been eight months pregnant at the time.

After giving birth to her daughter Qai Qai the following September, she then spent six weeks in hospital following delivery complications but still returned to the courts in time for the French Open the following year.

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But as much as Barty admires the 23-time Grand Slam champion and Wozniacki, a sporting return is very much off the table for herself.

“I’m not coming back,” she told the West Australian. “I was really happy for Caro; a dear friend of mind and seeing her back doing what she loves is awesome. She has a couple of kids a bit older than Hayden (Barty’s son) but I am not coming back, no.”

Barty won the French Open in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021 before rounding off her relatively short but successful career with a fairytale triumph at the Australian Open in 2022. She spent 121 weeks at the top of world rankings.

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