Australian teenage tennis star Ashleigh Barty has decided to take an indefinite break from the game and says she won’t play the Australian Open.
Ashleigh Barty’s shock decision to take an indefinite break from tennis comes less than a month after the exciting teenager made the biggest breakthrough of her career.
A Wimbledon junior champion at just 15, Barty on Friday said she needed to take time out from the game and offered no promises of a return.
Barty’s surprise announcement came after the 18-year-old qualified for the US Open in New York last month – the first time she’d gained entry to a grand slam event without needing a wildcard.
“Since returning from the US Open, my team and I have decided that right now it is best for me to take a break from professional tennis,” Barty said in a statement.
“Obviously this has been a very difficult decision with the Australian summer coming up but, after a lot of thought, we feel this is the right decision.
“I’ve enjoyed some incredible experiences on the tennis tour and would like to thank my coach, Jason (Stoltenberg), and the team at TA for all of its hard work and support throughout my journey so far.
“I will be following results closely and hope that the Aussies have a great summer and start to 2015.”
Barty burst to prominence when she won the Wimbledon junior championship in 2011.
It wasn’t long before experts were likening the diminutive star to former world No.1 Martina Hingis.
But despite reaching three grand slam doubles finals last year with fellow Australian Casey Dellacqua, Barty struggled to make her mark in singles in the professional women’s game.
The Queenslander’s ranking peaked at No.129 in September 2013 and she currently languishes at 216th in the world.
“All of us in the tennis family fully support Ash’s decision to take a break from professional tennis at this time, and we wish her all the very best,” said Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley.
Barty received eight wildcards into grand slam singles events before earning her own way into a major main draw in New York.
Despite her undoubted potential, Tennis Australia awarded its US Open wildcard this year to Jarmila Gajdosova.