Her retirement in March came when Barty was at the top of her game, holding down the world’s top ranking, and had after winning three of the sport’s majors – Wimbledon and the Australian and French Opens. The emotion was clear when she uttered the words that she was stepping away from the game.
Barty wrestled with her decision for months; it was only finalised when the announcement plans were put in place – two months after her famous drought-breaking triumph at Melbourne Park. But the Queenslander didn’t completely shut the door on a return to professional tennis.
Reminded at the time that other top athletes had retired too early – with others staging successful comebacks after pulling the pin – an honest Barty said: “I’d say you never say never. I’d say the door is closed, but it’s not padlocked.
“I’m never one to absolutely say never, never, never. But, yeah, it…