Weeks after retiring from professional tennis, former World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has announced her decision to participate in the Icon Series exhibition golf tournament in July.
The first event of the Icons Series, which will feature Olympic legend Michael Phelps and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in addition to Barty, will take place at Liberty National in New Jersey.
“I’m excited to be part of the Icons Series," Barty said. "And I hope through my participation in the series that we can encourage more women and girls to participate in golf around the world.”
“The series is also a great opportunity for athletes to have an impact on local community and charity projects in each of the host destinations," the former World No. 1 added.
Barty, who retired from tennis as World No. 1, said the tournament presented a unique opportunity for her to have fun and still test her skills against some of the world's best athletes.
The Australian reiterated her excitement at being a part of the tournament, adding that she hoped all the Aussie fans in New York and New Jersey would come out to support her,
“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," Barty said. "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.”
Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova lead the Stuttgart field in Ashleigh Barty's absence
In defending champion Ashleigh Barty's absence, top seed Iga Swiatek leads the field at the 2022 Porche Tennis Grand Prix. The Aussie lifted the trophy last year, but her retirement means that she will not be in the fray to defend her title.
Her absence makes Petra Kvitova, who won the tournament in 2019, the most recent champion. The southpaw is set to begin her campaign against compatriot Karolina Pliskova -- the 2018 winner -- in a marquee first-round contest.
Aryna Sabalenka (last year's runner-up) Paula Badosa, Maria Sakkari, Ons Jabeur and Anett Kontaveit, as well as Grand Slam champions Emma Raducanu and Bianca Andreescu, are also in the draw.