Women’s tennis No1 Ashleigh Barty has hinted she could take up another sport professionally following her shock retirement.
Barty, 25, played cricket to a high level during a previous break from tennis, competing in the Women’s Big Bash.
She is said to have a single-figure golf handicap and has also been linked with a move into Australian Rules Football.
“I have always been an athlete in terms of trying different things, so we’ll see how we go,” said Barty, who urged people to “wait and see”.
The three-time Grand Slam winner indicated she was more interested, however, in giving back to society and in particular other Indigenous Australians.
“I have always wanted to have the time to contribute more in other ways and now I have that opportunity,” she said. “That is what lights me up inside.”
Barty stunned tennis on Wednesday by announcing her decision to bow out at the top.
She had been world No1 since 2019, when she won her first Grand Slam at the French Open.
Wimbledon followed last year and in January she became the first home player for 44 years to win an Australian Open singles title.
Barty said she no longer felt motivated enough to dedicate herself to the game, having achieved her main goals and still felt a lack of fulfilment.
Coach Craig Tyzzer said he had not been surprised by Barty’s decision, however.
“Ash does her own thing,” he said. “I think it is the right time. She won the Aussie Open for everyone and I don’t think there’s anything left in the tank for her.”
Barty had hoped to make a farewell appearance for Australia in the Billie Jean King Cup next month but that was axed after opponents Russia were banned from most sport following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I was preparing to play,” she said. “Obviously the event didn’t go ahead, which again throws a spanner into the works with my timing and my plans.”