Ash Barty reveals she’s making a shock return to playing tennis at Wimbledon this year

Ashleigh Barty


Retried superstar Ash Barty will be reuniting with the grass courts at Wimbledon for the first time since her epic triumph in 2021 after agreeing to take part in an invitational doubles match.


Ashleigh Barty

It will be the first time the three-time grand slam champion takes to the courts since announcing her shock retirement in March 2022.

Barty, who since her retirement has got married and become a mother, will play in the exhibition match on Tuesday, July 9 (UK time). The event will include women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Wimbledon officials made the announcement on social media, declaring they were ‘delighted’ to have the 28-year-old back.

Since her retirement, Barty’s lone competitive sporting hitout was in the New Zealand Open pro-am event, where she tested her golfing skills.

She has been reluctant to pick up a racquet competitively and has repeatedly said that despite retiring at such a young age, she had no intention of a full-time return.

In 2021, Barty ended Australia’s 41-year drought at Wimbledon, becoming the first player since her idol, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, to lift the singles trophy.

Barty had previously won the French Open in 2019 – the first Australian woman in 46 years to do so – before claiming the Australian Open in 2022 and announcing her retirement two months later as the reigning world No.1.

The former world No.1 recently announced she’ll be part of the BBC’s TV commentary team for this year’s Wimbledon tournament.

She gave birth to son Hayden in July last year, after which tennis stars including Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur told her to return to the sport.

Since Barty’s retirement, Australian female presence at the grand slams has been minimal.

Even in London, the draw automatically includes the top 108-ranked female players, which means only Daria Saville and Arina Rodionova will make the cut-off.

Ajla Tomljanovic, who has won her way through to the quarter-finals at the grass court event in Birmingham, should be able to enter the tournament using a protected ranking, with a host of others set to enter qualifying.