Ash Barty has revealed her next sporting career move, confirming she has agreed to play in a global golf tournament.
Barty will headline the inaugural Icons Series in New Jersey in June, taking a spot in ‘The Rest of the World’ team alongside boxer Canelo Álvarez, Manchester City soccer manager Pep Guardiola and Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
The team will take on swimmer Michael Phelps, decorated quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and former professional boxer Oscar De La Hoya, all assigned to ‘Team USA’.
Barty, who shocked the world with her retirement from tennis last month, said she “can’t wait” to take to the Liberty National golf course.
“I’m excited to be part of the Icons Series and I hope through my participation in the series that we can encourage more women and girls to participate in golf around the world,” she said.
“It’s such a unique opportunity to have fun, test yourself and compete against the world’s greatest athletes in a sport that we are all so passionate about.
“I can’t wait to experience Liberty National and learn from our iconic captain Ernie Els. I hope all the Aussie fans in New York and New Jersey come out to cheer us on.”
The former tennis star has also taken a stake in the new concept, which Icons Series chief executive Thomas Brookes told the Nine newspapers she was keen to bring down under.
“She’s absolutely terrific … I know she’s really, really excited to be playing in New York and she’s also really keen to bring the concept to Australia.”
The three-time grand slam champion handed the tennis world No.1 spot to Polish player Iga Świątek in March.
Since her shock retirement, speculation has grown that she would take up another sport – either re-entering the cricket world, or following in the footsteps of her golfer fiancé Garry Kissick.
Barty’s retirement is rumoured to have even taken Tennis Australia by surprise, having potentially compromised a hefty broadcasting deal.
Tennis Australia was reportedly brokering a massive upgrade on its current broadcasting deal with Nine, which expires in 2024, on the back of Barty’s fairytale Australian Open singles win in January.
Experts estimated the five-year deal could have been worth as much as $500 million, but may have been thwarted by Barty’s unprecedented retirement.
Barty snagged her first golf title since retiring from tennis in early April, taking home $30 in prize money at a local Brisbane tournament.