The father of Ashleigh Barty, the No. 1 singles player in the Women's Tennis Association, has offered an explanation for her departure from the sport.
In 2014, Barty left tennis behind in an attempt to try her hand at cricket. Barty claimed she wanted to "experience life as a normal teenage girl." At the time, she had reached the top two at Grand Slams in 2013.
When Barty quit tennis entirely, fans were shocked. However, her father has chosen to elaborate on Barty's mindset.
"Ash was sad all the time," Rob Barty said via webinar. "She was not herself on the court. I said to my wife that we had just got to make sure that Ashleigh was happy. Her happiness was more important."
"Were we disappointed? Of course we were, because we love watching tennis and we were hooked on tennis," he continued. Mr. Barty clarified that he preferred to see his daughter happy than watching her be miserable while on the court.
Since Barty returned to the sport, she has won the French Open, claimed a US Open doubles crown, and reached the semi-finals of the Australian open.