At the tender age of 15, the star had become the 2011 Wimbledon Junior Champion. As the pressure mounted and all eyes were on her as the next tennis prodigy, Barty made the decision to leave the field when she reached the breaking point. In 2014, the star then pursued a career in city cricket. Returning to tennis in 2016 and climbing through the ranks again, it’s no surprise that the star has been linked with the favorite for a Grand Slam win. Yet the star is still aware of the plight she had to go through to get to where she is today.
Depressed and homesick, Barty retired from the sport after a first-round defeat at the US Open.
“We went through ebb and flow in that year in 2014,” Barty said in 2019, looking back on her early career.
“I’m not going to go into details about how I felt and what I had to go through, but there was a moment when I thought I knew I had to stop and when I made the decision it was easy.
“Everyone is different, everyone is unique. I can’t sit here and tell people how to navigate their lives. It’s their decision.
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“For me it was just being aware of my mental health. Talking to people was the best thing that came out of it.”
The star has never regretted her decision to temporarily leave the sport, explaining that without the break she wouldn’t be where she is today.
The star, who finished her 2019 season as the world No. 1, sits out the entire 2020 season due to Covid, and then returns to win at Wimbledon in 2021, not only dominates her sport, but her journey represents an important message.
In a recent interview, former 16-time Grand Slam doubles champion Todd Woodbridge praised Ashleigh Barty for leading a trend in women’s tennis about prioritizing mental health.
Mental health is something that concerns all of us. The Mental Health Foundation explains that mental health problems are one of the leading causes of the overall burden of disease worldwide.
Mind – a leading mental health charity – explains that depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time and affects your daily life.
In its mildest form, depression can mean you’re just down. It won’t stop you from living your normal life, but it will make everything harder to do and seem less rewarding. At its worst, depression can be life-threatening as it can make you suicidal.
In the early months of the year, people can suffer from a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
Typical symptoms of SAD include:
- Lack of energy
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Don’t want to see people
- Sleep problems, such as sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty waking up, or difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Feeling sad, low, in tears, guilty or hopeless
- Changes in your appetite, for example feeling more hungry or wanting more snacks
- Being more prone to physical health problems, such as colds, infections, or other illnesses
- Losing interest in sex or physical contact.
For confidential guidance and support, Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Individuals can call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.