Ash Barty has been spotted with a baby bump for the first time since her pregnancy announcement last week.
The three-time Grand Slam winner was seen taking her dogs, affectionately nicknamed the ‘wolf pack’ by her and her partner, for a walk near her Ipswich home.
Barty shocked the tennis world in March last year when she announced her retirement from the sport after winning the Australian Open, aged 25.
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At the time, she said it was down to not having the “physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top level anymore”.
Barty had sat at the top of the WTA rankings for 114 weeks preceding her retirement, after becoming the first Australian to win their home Slam in singles since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Since retirement, however, she has not sat on her heels, being named the NAIDOC 2022 person of the year, released a line of children’s books called Little Ash, and married her longtime partner in golf professional Garry Kissick.
She was also given the Officer of the Order of Australia for services to tennis, and released a memoir, entitled My Dream Time.
While she won’t be on court defending her title at this year’s Australian Open, she will be returning to Melbourne Park as a mentor to Gold Coast young gun Olivia Gadecki, currently ranked 200th in the WTA rankings.
The former national junior champion was knocked out in straight sets by China’s Xinyu Wang in the first round of the Hobart International earlier this week, 6-4, 7-5.
“I’ve been really fortunate to always be able to contact her if I have any questions or if I need advice, she’s always been there for me,” Galecki said.