Marion Bartoli, the 28-year-old French woman who won this year’s Wimbledon Championship, decided to retire from tennis Wednesday, saying that pain from various injuries suffered throughout her career have made it increasingly unbearable to continue.
Bartoli made the emotional and unexpected announcement during a news conference after losing to Romania’s Simona Halep, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, in the second round at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
“It’s never easy and obviously there's never a time to say it or whatever, but that was my last match of my career and it’s time for me to retire and to call it a career. I feel it’s time for me to walk away.”
Bartoli told the WTA that she could barely walk after her Wimbledon triumph and that the injuries have piled up over the weeks.
“My body just can’t do it anymore...I really pushed my body through the limit to win Wimbledon...after the match I could barely walk. My Achilles was hurting me so much. Last week it was my abs. This week it was my lower back and shoulder again. It’s really my whole body too tired...I felt really deep inside me that it’s time to do something else.”
Despite a career plagued by injuries, Bartoli reached a career high of World No. 7 in early 2012 and finished her career in the same spot. The pinnacle of her career came less than two months ago when she defeated Germany’s Sabine Lisicki, 6-1, 6-4, at Wimbledon to win her first and only Grand Slam title, a moment she shared with her close friends and family.
“This Grand Slam trophy that I own is very much a shared moment of happiness. It’s not only mine. And that was the most important thing for me, seeing all those people in my box so happy for me in this perfect day. I will remember this forever.”
Many people in the tennis community expressed their gratitudes and well wishes toward Bartoli upon hearing her announcement, including WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster and former Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe.
“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,” Allaster said. “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.”
Marion...you did it your way....always. Allez
Fellow professional players took to Twitter to share their thoughts on Bartoli’s retirement.
Former World No. 2 and 2011 Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic:
So sad to hear that @bartoli_marion is retiring :( Has been a pleasure to know you, my fellow Wimby champ :)
American Bethanie Mattek-Sands:
congrats on a brilliant career n always staying true to who you are. May you have even more success in your next endeavor!
Germany’s Sabine Lisicki, who Bartoli beat in this year’s Wimbledon final:
You’ve had an unbelievable career & made your dream come true! Wishing you ALL the best girl! @bartoli_marion #persistencepaysoff #derserved
As for the future, Bartoli stayed mum about her plans, but told the WTA that she plans to keep in touch with her friends on the WTA Tour and eventually wants to start a family. But for the time being, she just wants to sit back and enjoy retirement.
“I will probably just relax and let stress go out and be able to share this news with my friends...and go through some tears again.”