World No.1 tennis player Ashleigh Barty shocked the world with her decision of sudden retirement on Wednesday. She retired at the age of 25, weeks after becoming the first home-grown Australian Open champion in 44 years. Barty was one of the finest to have played the game and was peaking in her career but decided to put her racket to rest.
With this decision of her, Barty got herself included in the list of athletes who announced retirement really early in their careers. SportsTiger looks back at three of such athletes who decided to put a hold on their respective careers when no one expected.
1. Barry Sanders
Barry Sanders, an NFL great, left everyone in disbelief when he announced his retirement shortly after turning 31 years old in 1999. The Detroit Lions superstar held multiple records including the most consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (10) and the most seasons with at least 1,100 rushing yards (10, tied with Walter Payton). In his final NFL season, Sanders rushed for 1,491 yards giving a glimpse of what he had in him. But people could not see more of the football left in him.
2. Bjorn Borg
Six times French Open winner and possessor of five successive Wimbledon crowns, Bjorn Borg was a dominant force in men's game in tennis for much of the late 1970s and early 80s. But as the world started seeing more of him, he abruptly put an end to his career in in January 1983, aged 26. The reason behind Borg's decision was even more shocking. It is said that he decided to quit as he felt burnt out because of constant attention as the face of the sport.
3. Michael Jordan
Whenever there is a talk about players retiring in their prime, basketball star Michael Jordan is always on the list. Basketball fans across the globe were left in shock when Jordan announced his decision to not play anymore in 1993. Jordan elected to retire following the Bulls' first three-peat in the early 1990s and went on to pursue a baseball career after his father was murdered in 1993. Although he returned to Chicago Bulls two years later, his decision raised quite a few eyebrows.