World champion Ashleigh Barty has shocked the world by announcing that he will retire from professional football at the age of 25.
The Australian made the announcement on social media on Wednesday, saying he was leaving to “pursue other dreams”.
“I’m very happy and very good. And I just know right now in my heart, to me as a person, this is okay,” he said in the video.
Barty won his first Grand Slam at the 2019 French Open.
He has been a top player ever since, backed by Wimbledon success last year.
In January, she became the first domestic player to win the Australian Open men’s and women’s singles title in 44 years.
Serena Williams is the only other active female athlete who has won major titles in clay, grass and heavy courts.
“I was not sure how I was going to share this news with you so I asked my best friend [retired Australian tennis player Casey Delacqua] to help me,” Barty said on Wednesday.
“Thank you so much for all the game you have given me and I leave feeling proud and satisfied.
“Thanks to everyone who supported me along the way, I will always be grateful for the lifelong memories we have created together.”
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Barty added that it is “fully used” and “physically I have nothing to offer”.
The head of the Women’s Tennis Association Steve Simon said Barty is “one of the great champions” and will miss it.
“Ashleigh Barty, with his back-to-back signature, coupled with being a great rival, has always been leading by example with unwavering skill and professionalism that he brings throughout the game,” he said in a statement.
Some Australian Grand Slam winners also pay their taxes. Sam Stosur praised Barty’s “amazing work”, and Dylan Alcott said he “excelled in the whole concept of the word”.
Former Romanian world champion Simona Halep added: “What’s next for you? Grand Slam golf champion ?!”
Barty’s victory at the Australian Open has strengthened his reputation as a national hero. In a touching moment, he was presented with his trophy by Aboriginal Australian tennis champion and mentor Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
A recent report in Age newspaper revealed how the number of Australian children playing tennis increased by almost 30% over the past year. Many of them come from indigenous communities and most are girls.
“I’m proud to be a small part of getting more kids into sports and chasing their dreams,” he told BBC Sport in January.
Barty took a break from tennis in 2014, outlining his ambitions, and played in the first season of the Women’s Big Bash League cricket.
He said that “it was a very different feeling” in his retirement on Wednesday, adding that tennis “gave me all my dreams and more”.