That’s the expectation of great athletes now. The money is fabulous, the sponsors adore longevity, the science is there, the modern accouterments of success make it easier—the physios, coaches, therapists, nutritionists, private jets and more.
Go and go and go and go. Until the body quits. Until you’ve chased every record and possibility. Until the public has had enough.
Look at ancient Tom Brady, already back at it. Look at Serena and Venus Williams, chasing greatness into their 40s. Look at LeBron James, pledging to stick around until his own son is playing in the NBA.
Why not? It can be done. And again: The money is fabulous.
Once in a while, however, a great athlete says no more, at an early age, way before they’re due, and they mean it.
That’s what the tennis star Ash Barty did this week, announcing her retirement from the tour at age 25, while still No. 1 in the world, the reigning champion at Wimbledon and her home country’s Australian Open.
While still No. 1 in the world. Let that linger for a moment. Barty’s playing the best tennis of her life. She’d be a favorite in every tournament she played. She isn’t quitting because of a decline in her skill, or any apparent physical injury.
It’s quite the opposite. Barty says she’s simply ready…for what’s next.
“The time is right for me to step away and chase other dreams and to put the racquets down,” Barty said in a short, admirably level-headed interview with her friend and former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua. … Read More