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Serena weighs in after Barty walks away


“Today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis,” Barty said.“I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. I will always be grateful for the lifelong memories we created together.”She promised there would be “more to come” at a media conference on Thursday.Barty has been world number one for more than two years, and only six other women in history have held the top spot for more weeks in total. She won her home grand slam, the Australian Open, just two months ago.Women’s Tennis Association chief executive Steve Simon said the tennis world would miss Barty, who brought “unwavering professionalism and sportsmanship” to every match.“We wish Ash only the very best and know that she will continue to be a tremendous ambassador for the sport of tennis as she embarks on this new chapter of her life,” he wrote in a statement.American tennis legend Serena Williams paid tribute to Barty on Thursday morning. She tweeted: “@ashbarty I can’t lie I was sad to read your decision but also happy for your new chapter. Always your fan close up and afar. Sending all my love.”Australian tennis champion Dylan Alcott, who retired after this year’s Australian Open, took to Twitter to tell the world he was proud of Barty.“Ash Barty. Amazing tennis player but even better person. A champion in every sense of the word. Very proud of you mate,” he wrote.Fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is also 25 and won the men’s doubles, tweeted “Respect it” in response to Barty’s decision.American tennis player Madison Keys, who Barty knocked out in the women’s singles semi-finals, congratulated the Aussie champion on an “amazing career”.“An incredible tennis player but more importantly one of the nicest people on tour,” she said.British tennis star Andy Murray said he was happy for Barty, but “gutted for tennis”.While, former world no. 1 Karolína Plíšková said it was privilege to share a court with her.Fellow Czech player Petra Kvitová also said was “so happy” to have been able to share the court with Barty and that tennis would never be the same without her.“Ash, I have no words … actually you are showing your true class leaving tennis in this beautiful way,” she wrote.Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, also a former world no. 1, was made teary by the shock news.“Ash, what can I say, you know I have tears right? My friend, I will miss you on tour. You were different, and special, and we shared some amazing moments. What’s next for you? Grand Slam champion in golf?! Be hap`py and enjoy your life to the max,” she wrote.Australian cricketer Jess Jonassen wrote: “Shocked and saddened by this news but what a legend! Plenty of exciting things in the future for sure. True inspiration to many. Enjoy what’s next mate.”Over on Instagram, Barty’s post has been flooded with support.TV presenter Carrie Bickmore replied: “Legend. Absolute legend. Congrats Ash on everything xx”Model Elyse Knowles declared she had “total respect” for the move.“Living for your other dreams, and doing what you know it’s right for you!!! You deserve all the happiness life has to give moving forward,” she wrote.Australian tennis great Sam Stosur, who retired from singles after this year’s Australian Open, praised Barty for following her heart.“Congrats for all you have achieved Ash. Incredible career … Can’t wait to hear what is next for you but in the meantime enjoy retirement,” she wrote.Dutch tennis player Demi Schuurs congratulated Barty on an “unbelievable career” and said she was a friend both off and on the court.American golfer Nelly Korda said it was “time to hit the links”.

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