She played through the pain to realise her childhood dream. But after succeeding to make her dreams a reality, an emotional Marion Bartoli made the shocking announcement that she’ll no longer be calling tennis her career.
The 28-year-old Wimbledon champion told reporters at a media conference just 40 days after winning her only Grand Slam title, "It's time for me to retire and to call it a career."
The successful sports star is currently ranked seventh in the world, and her surprising decision is based on persistent injuries, in particular an Achilles problem that was troubling her. "It's been a tough decision to take," she said.
She added, "I've been a tennis player for a long time and I had the chance to make my biggest dream a reality.” But with pain for about an hour after each game, her body can no longer take the toll, she says.
After winning Wimbledon less than six weeks ago, Marion, who beat Sabine Lisicki in the final at the All England Club, said in quotes reported on wtatennis.com, "That was actually the last match of my career. Sorry.”
Known for her individual style and her on-court quirks such as running in place and furiously practising ground strokes, the French woman won the junior US Open title in 2001 and broke into the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) top 100 two years later.
In 2006 she won her first senior title in Auckland. Thereafter she cracked the top 10 in 2007.
In 2011 she reached the semifinals of the French Open. But she finally achieved her crowning glory this year when she claimed the Wimbledon title without dropping a set. She also achieved a record in doing so, winning her first grand slam title at the 47th attempt ? surpassing the previous record of 45, which was set by Czech Jana Novotna. While she’s shown impressive capabilities at the sport, the hard-working lady has never been one to do things the easy way. She was coached by her father, Walter, who had no background in the sport, yet he gave up his job as a doctor to teach her how to become a professional tennis star. WTA chairman and chief executive Stacey Allaster paid tribute to Marion’s long and successful career. "She is an inspirational champion and a great ambassador for women's tennis who has dedicated her life to the sport and given so much back to the game," she said.
"I am so proud of her for who she is, her values and for fighting to realise her dream of winning Wimbledon."
While the ending of her tennis career marks an end to one chapter of her life, the young woman does have plans for her future. On what she will embark on next, she says, "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.”
With an IQ of 175, there’s no doubt she’s destined for many great things.
Sources: bbc.co.uk, independent.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk, smh.com.au