Barty Shines In Her First Match Since Retirement But Denies Comeback Speculations

Barty Shines In Her First Match Since Retirement But Denies Comeback Speculations

by Erik Virostko

Ashleigh Barty played her first tennis match in front of audience since she retired from the sport in 2022.

The Australian player is one of a very few tennis players, and athletes in general, who have retired on a winning streak. She did that after winning all of her 11 matches in 2022, first lifting the title at the Adelaide International before adding also the Australian Open triumph.

Since then, she's been away from the tennis courts, but at the 2024 Wimbledon Championships, the 28-year-old is back in competitive action. Obviously, she's not in any WTA Tour-level competition, but instead in Wimbledon's invitational doubles tournament for retired players and legends of the sport, who she undeniably is.

Her former doubles partner, Casey Dellacqua, who she played with in four Grand Slam finals, is her partner also in the invitational tournament, and they got off to a good start in front of the excited audience on the Centre Court, where the match was played, after Alex de Minaur's retirement canceled one of the matches on the Wimbledon's main court.

In the first match, the Australian duo took former World No. 9, Andrea Petkovic from Germany, and former Wimbledon semi-finalist, Magdalena Rybarikova from Slovakia.

The German-Slovak duo was better in the first set, despite falling behind 2-4 early in the set. Still, they were able to rally back, winning the opening set of the match 7-5.

Barty, who was the youngest, most successful, and second most recently retired player on the court, visibly increased the intensity in the second set as she and her partner jumped out to a 5-1 lead.

Their opponents pulled one break back, but still, the Australians won the second set 6-3 to force the decider, which for the invitational tournament represents a match tie-break to 10 points.

Barty and Dellacqua fell behind 1-4 early in the match tie-break, but they were the better team late in it, winning 10-7 to win the match 5-7, 6-3, 10-7, as Barty kept her winning streak, which she ended her career with, going.

It's not usual for players taking part in the invitational tournaments to hold press conferences, but as a legend of the sport, who didn't stand on the tennis court since her retirement, Barty had one.

Obviously, the first question was about her possible comeback, which the Australian, once again, denied, saying that she wasn't coming back to the sport.

"You guys are killing me. I don't know how much more. Anyone have a thesaurus for a word that I can use for 'no'? No…"


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