Just a month after capturing her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon, Marion Bartoli is hanging up her racquets and retiring from tennis effective immediately. The unorthodox Frenchwoman made the stunning announcement this evening after losing in the second round at the Cincinnati Masters to Simona Halep 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
In a tearful press conference tonight, the 28-year-old cited continued pain from injuries as the reason for her abrupt retirement. Bartoli, who turned pro in 2000, finishes her career with 8 WTA titles (most recently and most notably Wimbledon) over $11 million in earnings and she’ll leave the sport at a career-high No. 7 in the rankings.
Earlier in the day Bartoli seemed exicited to play next week in New Haven, from this tweet:
— Marion bartoli (@bartoli_marion) August 14, 2013
Quotes from Bartoli’s announcement were shared on the WTA website:
“My body just can’t do it anymore. I’ve already been through a lot of injuries since the beginning of the year. I’ve been on the tour for so long, and I really pushed through and left it all during that Wimbledon. I really felt I gave all the energy I have left in my body. I made my dream a reality and it will stay with me forever, but now my body just can’t cope with everything. I have pain everywhere after 45 minutes or an hour of play. I’ve been doing this for so long. I just can’t do it anymore.”
On whether she knew going into the match that it would be her last…
“Well, you never know before the match that it’s going to be your last match, but I felt that way after the match. I felt I just couldn’t do this anymore. After one set, my whole body was in pain.
“It’s been a tough decision to make. I didn’t make this decision easily. I mean, I’ve been a tennis player for a long time, and I had the chance to make my biggest dream a reality. I felt I really, really pushed through the ultimate limits to make it happen. But now I just can’t do it anymore.”
On whether she had been thinking about it for a while…
“It’s hard to explain, but when you dream about something for so long and you’ve been on tour for many, many, many years and you’ve been through ups and downs and highs and lows and already a lot of injuries since the beginning of the year, my body was really starting to fall apart, and I was able to keep it together, go through a lot of pain throughout Wimbledon, and still make it happen. That was probably the last little bit of something that was left inside me. It’s fine. I have the right to do something else as well. I’ve been playing for a long, long time, and it’s time for me now. It is.”
On whether she discussed it with her dad…
“I called him, yes. But my dad knows me enough to know it a bit when he saw me leaving home for the States. He kind of felt I was tired and I was exhausted, and he was not surprised by the decision.
“He said, ‘I kind of felt it. I can see it in your eyes and see your body and I know all the work you’ve done to make it happen. I’m so proud of you. I will support you in anything you’re doing.'”
On where the pain is exactly…
“My Achilles is hurting me a lot, so I can’t really walk normally after a match like that, especially on the hardcourts when the surface is so hard. And my shoulder and my hips and my lower back. The body of a tennis player, you’ve been using it for so many years, and, yeah, my body is just done.”
On how she went from a really good first set to this decision…
“As a tennis player you have to be at 100%. And I’m this kind of person, when I’m doing something, I’m doing it 100%. If I have to be on the practice court preparing for the next tournament tomorrow, I won’t be at 100%, because my mind is not there, my heart is not there, and I can’t lie like that.
“I’m too honest and too true to my values to be there, not really 100%. I think that would be unfair for all my team, and I don’t choose to do that. I don’t have those values. That’s not the way I’ve been raised. That’s not the way I am. So I prefer to stay true to myself rather than just cheating.”
On what she’s most proud of from her career…
“I think being the same person, being honest, being loyal to my friends, to my teams, to the people who have been helping me along the way, the people who have been working with us throughout all the years. I always respect them, and I felt I always respected everyone. I think if people ask, ‘How is Marion Bartoli?’ They will always respond, ‘She’s a nice person.’ That’s what I’m most proud of.”
On what she will do now…
“I haven’t thought about it so much. There are so many things to do in life rather than playing tennis, so I’m sure I’ll find something. I just need a bit of time to settle down. “There is some excitement as a tennis player. There is a lot of excitement as a woman. There is a lot of excitement as a wife. There is a lot of excitement as a mother. There is a lot of excitement to come up. Obviously I’m excited to live my future, but I will have time to think about it in the months, years to come.”
WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster: “I congratulate Marion on her long, successful career. She is an inspirational champion and a great ambassador for women’s tennis that has dedicated her life to the sport and given so much back to the game. Fans and everyone at the WTA will surely miss Marion’s energy and passion for our sport. I am so proud of her for who she is, her values, and for fighting to realize her dream of winning Wimbledon. We all wish her the best as she enters the next chapter of her life.”
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