Marion Bartoli spent most of her life fighting to get to the top of the tennis world. Now, one month after her victory at Wimbledon, the 28 year-old French player is walking away from the sport.
The reigning Wimbledon champion made the stunning announcement that she is retiring from tennis following a loss to Simona Halep at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
“It’s never easy, and obviously there is never a time to say it or whatever, but that was actually the last match of my career,” Bartoli told news reporters Wednesday night.
The tennis star, who achieved her highest WTA ranking of No. 7, revealed that she cannot stand the pain any longer referring to body parts that ache every time she swings a racket or hunts down a drop shot.
Bartoli has been hampered by an injured left foot, right ankle, right hamstring and Achilles tendon injury. She said every part of her body hurt while she was on the court Wednesday, and it’s been like that for some time. Asked about the minutiae of her final match, she said:
“Honestly, the match isn’t really important to me right now. If I have to be tomorrow on the practice court and prepare for the next tournament, I won’t be at 100%, because my mind is not there, my heart is not there, and I just can’t lie like that. 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.”
Her magical run at Wimbledon came in her 47th Grand Slam appearance, which set the record for most majors started before a first win. She said the lifetime of work to get to that point took its toll.
Bartoli won eight WTA titles in her career. She played two tournaments after Wimbledon, going 1-2. Not that those matches matter, she said.
“Everyone will remember my Wimbledon title,” she said through tears. “No one will remember the last match I played.”
Tennis fans will remember the Wimbledon title, as well as the backlash she received on social media regarding her appearance. A BBC announcer famously commented that she probably had to work that much harder since she wasn’t much of a looker (like for example Maria Sharapova). In a classy response, Bartoli countered that she never had much interest in being a model, but that being a champion tennis player was always her aspiration.
Bonne chance, Marion, with whatever is in store for the next chapter of your life.
Tennis Players Dissed By Sexist Media