Ash Barty has agreed to play in a huge global golf tournament which will be televised live in Australia and feature some of the biggest names in world sport.
The news comes after she wowed onlookers in a secret practice session during last year’s US Open and won a women’s tournament held in Queensland in April.
Captained by two golfing superstars, some of the world’s most iconic athletes will battle it out in the new Icons Series – a nine-hole team match-play tournament at the prestigious Liberty National Golf Club, New Jersey from June 30-July 1.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Tottenham striker Harry Kane are set to showcase their talents away from the pitch – and this time they will be on the same side – as they join Barty on Ernie Els’s Rest of the World Team.
Ash Barty (pictured with her golf pro fiancee Garry Kissick) has announced a shock move to play in a star-studded golf tournament after retiring from tennis last month
The exceptional sporting talent represented the Brisbane Heat in the women’s Big Bash League in 2015
They’ll all face Team USA, which will be skippered by former world No.1 and US Masters winner Fred Couples and feature Olympic swimming record holder Michael Phelps, boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya and former NFL stars Michael Strahan and Ben Roethlisberger.
Speaking exclusively to Sportsmail, Els said: ‘They’re (fans) going to see some familiar faces in an unfamiliar role, so that’ll be interesting!
‘But these guys are used to performing under pressure so I have faith they’ll rise to the challenge and we’ll see some good golf out there.
‘The matches will be competitive, but played in the right spirit. It’s going to be fun to be a part of and definitely fun to watch.’
The teams will feature 14 athletes each with the full line ups set to be released in the coming weeks.
Barty shocked the sporting world by retiring from tennis aged just 25 last month, six months after claiming the Wimbledon title last year.
She grabbed the world No.1 spot on June 24, 2019, and never relinquished it with high finishes in Grand Slams for the next two-and-a-half years.
Barty from Ipswich in Queensland, fought back tears as she made the bombshell announcement, saying she was physically and emotionally ‘spent’.
‘It’s the first time I’ve said it out loud, so it’s hard to say but I’m so happy and I’m so ready,’ she explained in the video.
‘I know I’ve done this before but in a very different feeling and I’m so grateful of what tennis has given me, all of my dreams plus more but I know the time is right now for me to step away and to put the rackets down.’
Barty earned US$23.8 million (AU$37.75 million) in prize money and millions more in sponsorships, making her the 14th best-paid female player in history.
She made US$3 million from endorsements last year and was the eighth-highest paid female athlete in 2021, pocketing US$6.9 million, according to Forbes.
Her total career earnings are estimated to be around the US$53 million-mark (AU$70 million).
The 25-year-old is engaged to golfer Garry Kissick after the couple met on the golf course a few years ago
Barty said she was considering retirement for a while and had a ‘gut feeling’ achieving her childhood dream of winning Wimbledon last year.
‘It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments,’ she said.
‘I’ve had a lot of incredible moments in my career that have been pivotal moments. And Wimbledon last year changed a lot for me as a person and for me as an athlete when you work so hard, your whole life for one goal, and I’ve been able to share that with so many incredible people.
‘But to be able to win Wimbledon, which was my dream — the one, true dream I wanted in tennis — that really changed my perspective. I just had that gut feeling after Wimbledon and had spoken to my team quite a lot about it.
‘There was just a little part of me that wasn’t quite satisfied, wasn’t quite fulfilled. And then came the challenge of the Australian Open.
‘That for me just feels like the perfect way — my perfect way — to celebrate what an amazing journey my tennis career has been.
‘As a person, this is what I want. I want to chase after some other dreams that I’ve always wanted to do, and always had that really healthy balance, but I’m really, really excited.’
Inside the lavish mega-mansion Australian Open champion Ash Barty is planning to build after snapping up a block of land next to a Greg Norman-designed golf course – while living in a huge home next door
Ash Barty is trading up to a multi-million dollar ‘dream home’.
The 25-year-old Queenslander has been quietly building a property portfolio over her short career, with the latest being a $882,000 plot of land in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, last year.
She and her golfer fiancé Garry Kissick are building a lavish mansion on the land in the exclusive community of Brookwater, with Daily Mail Australia being told she is living in a rental next door.
The new home will be her third, owning properties in neighbouring Springfield Lakes and Augustine Heights.
Barty’s mansion at Brookwater in Brisbane’s west is close to where she grew up in Ipswich (pictured, an artist impression of what the home may look like)
The tennis champion is for now living in a lavish rental next door to the plot of land where she is building her ‘dream home’
The Brookwater mansion in Brisbane’s west where tennis superstar Ash Barty is based while in Australia
Property portfolio: Ash purchased the home back in 2018 for $650,000, and owns another property in nearby Augustine Heights, which she bought for $243,036 in 2016
The 2021 Wimbledon champion revealed the couple’s plans to build the mansion, having bought a vacant block for $882,000 late last year.
She also owns a modest four-bedroom house in Springfield Lakes, which is an hour outside of Brisbane in Ipswich.
Barty bought the home back in 2018 for $650,000, and owns another property in nearby Augustine Heights, which she bought for $243,036 in 2016.
The new Barty mansion backs onto a golf course – perfect for partner and PGA Trainee Professional Garry Kissick
New addition: According to a report by The Courier Mail last week, Ash is in the process of building her ‘forever’ home in Brookwater, a suburb in Ipswich, Queensland
Party time: The Queensland property boasts a spacious outdoor entertainment area, perfect for hosting
Brookwater is a residential community in Ipswich, and features the Greg Norman-designed Brookwater Golf Course.
In a video released by Brookwater Residential, Barty shared how she was working with architects to prioritise outside space.
Barty grew up in the region and said in the video she ‘couldn’t imagine living anywhere else when not travelling the world’.
‘You can hear the birds in the morning. You can see the sun rise. It’s just all those little things that make a home a home,’ she said.
Daily Mail Australia understands Barty has been staying at the home next to the land she purchased while her home is being built
‘I love how low-key the lifestyle is here at Brookwater. That’s where I see myself forever.’