In Australia this week, the reigning women's World Champion @ Tennis...Ash Barty, declared she was resigning from Tennis....quitting.....throwing the towel in. "I am happy, this decision is right for me"...she said
Virginia Triloi, had this to say.....
Even though this year is shaping up to be yet another wild ride, I still didn’t have Ash Barty joining the Great Resignation on my 2022 bingo card.
Ranked world number one, a three-time major singles champion at the top of her game, set for even more and — most shocking of all only 25 years of age — Barty said she was done. And she shared the news with her customary ease and calm confidence.
The very notion of retirement would be preposterous and surely a cover for a darker reason if it came from anybody but her, a woman whose self-knowledge is so complete she is almost transparent.
After her thrilling Australian Open championship in January, I interviewed Barty’s intriguing "mind coach" Ben Crowe, who plays a key role in her tight-knit team. Listening back, maybe the clues were all there: tennis is what she does, he told me — but it’s not who she is
"Ash has been on a beautiful journey and done an enormous amount of heavy lifting to work out who she is and find that unconditional sense of self…," he said. "When you know who you are, and you can own your story… you don't get distracted by these expectations of others or expectations of outcome."
Barty had figured out how to answer, Crowe said, the two key questions we all have to confront: Who am I? And, what am I here to do?
I know it wasn’t just me who experienced her light and happy renunciation of all the crowns and jewels of world tennis as a thunderbolt. Like so many others I rushed to social media to join international congratulations
but what I most wanted to say was how I loved that Barty could walk away from something so assuredly when it was no longer making her happy.
Is Barty the only sportsperson we’ve ever known and loved this well who has been able to identify what is enough? What will do, thank you very much, when it comes to success? Does that chase ever end?
It made me think of Ian Thorpe’s retirement press conference, when he spoke of the long hours of training, staring at “the black line” at the bottom of the pool, and then all of a sudden looking up and seeing another world out there.
Listen to the contrast with Barty, for whom nobody’s expectations but her own would hold sway.
Thorpe said: “I know there are a lot of people out there that want me to keep swimming. I only hoped that I wanted to swim half as much as other people want me to.”
Barty was never going to swing a racquet even once if her whole heart was not in it.
Since her announcement, I’ve had or overheard so many conversations with men and women of varying ages that have been driven by her stunning certainty.
They are asking themselves, they are asking each other, is this making me happy? Is this how I want to be living my life?
The Barty option is not open to all of us. In fact, probably not to most of us: we are not rich and there’s a mortgage to pay, there are bills and fees and kids and we know that regular daily work is a blessing, not a curse.
But we can’t hide from that clamouring authentic voice inside so many of us, telling us that the pandemic has been a bell, tolling the days we may have left and challenging us to try to find the right, the true, way to pass them.
I think more and more about Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Dillard’s observation that “how we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives: what we are doing with this hour and that one is what we are doing.”
Barty has declared she isn’t going to waste a single hour. Her time starts now.
So does ours.
My opinion: Whatever you decide to do with your time, Ash....we know with certainty that it will reflect the true class that is you.
Ash Barty's decision to step away from tennis at the peak of her powers came as a shock, but it's the right call to retire on her terms, writes Russell Jackson.
ABC NEWS, Australia