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Ash Barty plays exhibition doubles match at Wimbledon but happy to stay retired

Storm Sanders was Australia’s hero after she won the first singles rubber before returning for the deciding doubles match alongside 38-year-old Samantha Stosur.

Australia’s Ash Barty plays a forehand return during her invitation doubles match with compatriot Casey Dellacqua against Andrea Petkovic of Germany and Magdelena Rybarikova of Slovakia at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AP

Ash Barty was searching for a thesaurus after her exhibition doubles match at Wimbledon on July 10.

A three-time Grand Slam singles champion, Barty retired just over two years ago at the age of 25. She plans to stay retired.

“You guys are killing me,” Barty told journalists. “Anyone have a thesaurus for a word that I can use for no?’” Barty played an invitation doubles match on Centre Court three years to the day after she beat Karolina Pliskova for the Wimbledon title.

The Australian’s return to the All England Club naturally sparked questions about whether she would come back.

Not interested, she said. A year ago, Barty gave birth to a baby boy. She’s also doing commentary for the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon.

“I’ve got a beautiful commentary box on both Centre and Court 1,” she said. “You get a good view and are able to absorb what’s happening out on the court. Hopefully people at home are enjoying what I’m having to say. I don’t know whether I’m right, wrong or indifferent, but I’m enjoying it as well.”

The 28-year-old Barty said she doesn’t ponder what would have been had she stayed on tour to battle Iga Swiatek for the No. 1 ranking.

“I really enjoy watching others do well,” she said. “We have seen Iga dominate for the most part of the last two and a half years. She’s been incredible the way she has composure, has gone on incredible runs, winning matches and really dominating, which is hard to do. It’s been really impressive watching from afar.”

In the exhibition match, Barty and Casey Dellacqua beat the pairing of Andrea Petkovic and Magdalena Rybarikova.

“I love tennis. I love being here. I love being involved,” Barty said. “Now, I just get to pick and choose in small doses, which is really nice.”

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