She has rarely been seen on a tennis court since her surprise retirement in March last year, but Australian Grand Slam champion Ash Barty delighted a group of young players when she walked to the line basic Thursday.
The Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon winner fulfilled the dreams of over 140 Aboriginal children when she launched the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival in Newcastle, NSW.
Despite being pregnant for several months which she announced in January, the 26-year-old icon was active with young people – but remained firm on her decision to quit the game when the subject of a possible return was evoked.
“I’ve said it many times, two tennis cracks were more than enough,” she said.
The Australian Open, Wimbledon and French Open champion delighted First Nations youngsters when she returned to the court in Newcastle, NSW on Thursday
Despite being several months pregnant which she announced in January and sporting an obvious baby bump, Barty was active with the kids at the launch of the National Aboriginal Tennis Carnival.
“I am absolutely fulfilled, happy and satisfied. I have different things, different dreams and different ways that I would like to contribute to community sport.
“My athletic days are over.”
Barty announced the happy news of her pregnancy on Instagram in January by sharing a photo of her Border Collie sitting next to a pair of baby shoes.
‘2023 should be the best year yet. We are so excited for our new adventure,’ she captioned the post, referring to her husband, Gary Kissick.
His growing baby bump was visible under his hoodie at the District Park Tennis Center as he hosted a pre-event for the National Aboriginal Carnival, to be held in Darwin from August 10-13.
Barty is a proud Ngarigo woman and is a First Nations Ambassador with Tennis Australia.
“It’s an opportunity for our children to come together, try new things and be culturally involved,” she said of the carnival.
The Australian tennis icon says giving back to First Nations communities is her passion
Barty has had a busy start to 2023, appearing at the Australian Open and Melbourne Grand Prix in addition to her role as First Nations Ambassador with Tennis Australia
“It’s amazing to see, that’s what it’s all about, it’s about trying new things for the first time.
“I am so thankful and grateful for my journey through tennis and beyond now, but always being connected and being able to contribute in ways like this, especially with young First Nations people, is my passion. like.
‘I had different role models throughout my life, starting with my mother and my sisters, then I progressed professionally to Evonne [Goolagong Cawley] and Cathy Freeman, they are both exceptional people and great role models in the sense of what they have done in their field, on the field, on the track, but also their contribution after their retirement is something something that I would really like to imitate. ‘
The proud Ngarigo woman said she would love to match the way her sporting heroines Cathy Freeman and Evonne Goolagong Cawley have continued to contribute to their sport and to Indigenous Australia after retirement.
Barty has been busy so far in 2023 thanks to her role as chief inspiration at Optus, and she has made appearances at the Australian Open and Australian Grand Prix.
She and Kissick have been together since 2016, when they met while playing the links at Brooklands Golf Club in Queensland.
Her skill with a club in hand led to speculation that she might transition to the sport after retiring from the field.
Barty played alongside other sports stars like Premier League hero Harry Kane, world champion boxer Saul Alvarez and Australian cricketing legend Ricky Ponting at the Golf Icons series in New Jersey last July.
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