'Absolutely Not': Azarenka Reveals Chat With Barty After Retirement U-Turn Question

'Absolutely Not': Azarenka Reveals Chat With Barty After Retirement U-Turn Question

by Nurein Ahmed

Victoria Azarenka has shed light on her recent meetup with her close friend and former rival Ashleigh Barty at the Brisbane International.

This week, Barty was a surprise visitor at her hometown tournament, where she was given VIP treatment with access to the backstage area, including the players' restaurant, and was also on the main court to catch up to some tennis inside Pat Rafter Arena.

The Queenslander memorably shocked the tennis world when she retired from professional tennis after winning the 2022 Australian Open. Barty ranked world No. 1 at the time and just 25, stated that she accomplished what she set out to achieve in her playing career.

She won three Grand Slams in total and spent a total of 121 weeks as the number one player. Motherhood called, and Barty, who wed her longtime love Garry Kissick later that year, gave birth to a baby boy in July 2023.

In her time away from the limelight and daily grind of the pro tour, Barty has had to field many questions about taking a retirement U-turn and joining the conveyor belt of returning mothers on the women's tour.

The 27-year-old has dismissed making any comeback and insisted that her hands are full, having to take care of her five-month-old son named Hayden and her pet dogs.

Azarenka and Barty reunited in Brisbane this week. The Belarusian is also a mother and is currently active on the main tour, having reached the semifinals at her first WTA tournament of 2024. Azarenka disclosed her private chat with the Australia star and admitted that it is false hope to think that she will return to the tour.

"No (not coming back). Absolutely not. It's interesting when she announced her retirement it was so shocking for the world. For me, it wasn’t that shocking because I knew that she’s a tennis player, but she’s a bigger person. She just wants to have a normal life, tennis life is crazy. I knew that when we played doubles together."

Azarenka praised Barty for what she has achieved in her short career. Although she is dearly missed on tour owing to her crafty playing style, the 34-year-old opined that there are more important things to prioritize in life than just playing tennis and is completely excited to see Barty enjoying the second phase of her life.

"She's done an incredible career, something that anybody can wish for. She did Australia so proud. I’m really happy to see her happy. I think that's the most important. I know people miss her tennis and stuff but for me it's important to see her happy being a mom, her baby is so cute. I can't wait to see at some point maybe our kids are going to play here. One way she is coming back (laughing)."


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