Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has stunningly called an end to her career after losing her second round match at Cincinnati’s Western and Southern Open on Wednesday night. The announcement comes just over a month after she achieved her dream of claiming the Wimbledon crown at the All England Club.
Bartoli, just 28 years old, cited injuries as one of the reasons for her shock and tearful announcement during her scheduled after-match press conference following a defeat to Romania’s Simona Halep.
"I have pain everywhere after 45 minutes or an hour of play," she said, according to the Associated Press. "I've been doing this for so long. And yeah, it's just body-wise, I can't do it anymore. My body was really starting to fall apart and I was able to keep it together, go through the pain -- with a lot of pain -- throughout this Wimbledon and make it happen. That was probably the last little bit of something that was left inside me."
And Bartoli claimed that her win over Sabine Lisicki in the Wimbledon final means that she is able to walk away.
"You know, everyone will remember my Wimbledon title," she added. "No one will remember the last match I played here. It's been a tough decision to take. I don't take this easily. I mean, I've been a tennis player for a long time and I had a chance to make my biggest dream a reality. I felt I really, really pushed through the ultimate limits to make it happen."
From her two-handed strokes on both wings to the myriad of stores about her father’s unusual coaching methods, the French woman, ranked seven in the WTA rankings, has always been known for doing things in her own unconventional fashion. But this announcement may well trump everything that has gone before.
Bartoli has given no sign that she was considering retirement and earlier in the day and made posts intimating that she was looking forward to a tournament next week in New Haven before heading to New York for the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open.
Bartoli is not the first player to retire from tennis in sudden fashion. Just weeks before the French Open in 2008, then world No. 1 Justine Henin announced she was leaving the sport with immediate effect. Henin, though, would announce her short-lived return less than 18 months later. It remains to be seen if Bartoli’s decision will be a lasting one.