Australian tennis ace Todd Woodbridge considers Ashleigh Barty to be one of the most talented female athletes of the last two decades.
Ashleigh Barty, the world’s number one tennis player, shocked the tennis world when she announced her retirement at the age of 25 on 23rd March, Wednesday. In an Instagram video, Barty expressed her gratitude for “everything this sport has given me” before announcing that it was the “right” time for her to put her “racquets down.”
Nevertheless, the Australian tennis star, who has previously demonstrated her remarkable skills in the Women’s Big Bash League, quits as the world’s top-ranked tennis player after more than two years at the top.
“I am not completely surprised”- Todd Woodbridge
Todd Woodbridge, a former Australian tennis star has expressed his admiration for compatriot Ashleigh Barty and labelled her as “one of the most skilled players”. In an interview with Wide World of Sports, the Aussie legend stated, “Absolutely blindsided by the announcement. But not completely shocked. I’d always thought Ash wouldn’t play an extended career into her 30s, and I thought two or three more years would be what we would see out of her, but I didn’t expect to see her retire at 25.”
He went on to say that he isn’t surprised by Barty’s choice, who won Roland-Garros in 2019, giving her three major titles and solidifying her place as one of the game’s top current stars. “I’m not completely surprised, because she’s always played this sport on her own terms, and because of that has had the success that we’ve seen.”
Serena Williams has dominated women’s tennis for the past two decades, while a slew of other competitors has spent years competing for trophies against the ‘Momma Smash’. However, Woodbridge disagrees as according to him, Ashleigh Barty may have been the most skilled of them all. “I think Ash, in the last 20 years of women’s tennis, is one of the most skilled players there’s been. There’s been more powerful – with the likes of Serena – there’s been more athletic, but (Barty’s) racquet skills for me have been sublime to watch.”
“The sliced backhand, the volley, and the tactical awareness of what she needed to do in her matches. That’s what stood out for me and that made her so enjoyable to watch, so enjoyable to commentate,” concluded the doubles legend.
Also read: BUSTED: The reality behind Ash Barty’s early retirement