Slam icon draws similarities between her and Ash Barty’s early retirements

Justine Henin admitted she was “surprised” by Ash Barty’s retirement and drew similarities between his retirement and Barty’s, saying “I can put myself in his shoes”.

Last month, three-time Grand Slam winner Ash Barty shocked the tennis world when she announced her decision to retire at the height of her powers, just 25 and the current world number one.

However, Barty isn’t the only player to have her career cut short considerably. In 2008 Justine Henin, then world number one and seven-time Slam ace, also retired early.

Although Henin retired as she struggled to recover from an elbow injury, Barty retired because she wanted to “pursue other dreams”.

In an interview with Eurosport, seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin said: “Barty’s retirement is not good news for women’s tennis today. She was a girl who brought a lot of creativity, with an extremely complete game. And she had that consistency.

“Of course, I can put myself in his shoes because I quit – not really in the same conditions, but I was young too, so I started again afterwards.

“We don’t know what the future holds for her – and I was surprised as Ash Barty seemed like the one who would continue to impose her authority on women’s tennis.

“The world number one, retiring so young is always surprising, but at the same time Barty does not necessarily do things like the others.

“You have to respect his decision, no one can judge because we all live our careers in a different way. I must have also been 25 (28) years old at the time when I decided to retire from tennis.

“So of course there are a lot of similarities with Barty. That’s why I can totally relate to her and understand. I was clearly on the verge of psychological exhaustion.

During his own retirement, Henin shared, “I made my decision at Berlin airport. I thought about it for 30 minutes. So it happened very quickly.

“I felt like I had sacrificed so much in my family and personal life, I had closed a lot of drawers in my personal life for tennis and it was time to sort things out in my personal life. And as long as I I had this career, I couldn’t do that, so it was also a search for balance.

“I would have preferred to have the strength in hindsight to say ‘I’m having a good break’ but as I do things at 300% and it’s often black and white at home, I made the decision to stop. .

“I also wanted to get out of the rankings, as soon as possible. It’s related to my personality. »

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