Wimbledon champion MARION BARTOLI announced that "she had played her final match as a professional," according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. The announcement was "as shocking as it was unexpected." Bartoli said that after her defeat to SIMONA HALEP in the first round of the Western and Southern Open, it dawned on her that "she could not put her body through any more." The announcement "startled everyone." Perhaps Bartoli herself "was astonished at how rapidly she came to such a remarkable conclusion." Clearly, she "had been hurting for a long time." Bartoli: "I can’t really walk normally after a match like that, especially on a hard court -- my shoulder, hips and lower back are all in pain. The body of a tennis player, you have been using it for so many years -- it is just done" (LONDON TIMES, 8/15).
BEATEN UP: In London, Oliver Brown reported Bartoli "spoke of the ravages of injury, of how acutely she had been hurting during that Wimbledon final, but the end of the road still seemed to be early -- premature, even." Bartoli claimed she "just couldn’t do this anymore." It has "almost become a theme:" JUSTINE HENIN, KIMCLIJSTERS, MARTINA HINGIS "all ascended to the summit of their sport and all promptly retired in their mid-twenties." The toll upon Bartoli’s body -- she has suffered with Achilles problems and pain in both knees in recent years -- "was the trigger cause on this occasion." But "the consistent thread in the choices of these young players to step aside early seemed also to be a reaction of the all-consuming effect of tennis in their lives" (LONDON TIMES, 8/15).
SHOCK DECISION: In Melbourne, Linda Pearce wrote for the second time in just over a month, Bartoli "has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to surprise." The timing "was as unusual as the bouncing Bartoli herself" -- the double-hander known "for her unconventional style and quirky mannerisms." Former player and US Davis Cup captain PATRICK MCENROE tweeted: ''Marion … you did it your way …. always. Allez.'' Not even her French compatriots "had any inkling." Bartoli: ''I don't take this easily. 'I really felt I gave all the energy I have left inside my body. I made my dream a reality, and it will stay forever with me, but now my body just can't cope with everything. I have pain everywhere after 45 minutes or an hour of play" (THE AGE, 8/16).
Colombian cyclist NAIRO QUINTANA, who recently finished second in the Tour de France, "is already a hero in Colombia, a national star and the country's No. 1 athlete." Quintana, 23, "brought the streets of Bogotá to a standstill upon his return" and had a meeting with Colombian President JUAN MANUEL SANTOS. Quintana flew from Madrid back to Colombia for the first time since the Tour de France on Tuesday, with "hundreds of fans greeting him at the airport." Quintana also participated in "an open-top bus parade through Bogotá" (EL PERIODICO, 8/14). In London, Arturo Wallace reported "Colombia is a proud cycling country and past glories include LUIS HERRERA's victory at the Spanish Vuelta in 1987, SANTIAGO BOTERO's Time Trial World Championship in 2002" and RIGOBERTO URAN's Silver Medal in the 2012 London Olympics. Quintana: "In 30 years' time I don't want people talking about the big welcoming party they once organized for me. I want them talking about the big welcoming they have to organize for a new local boy. That's why I want commitment from the local authorities, in front of all this people, they they will do everything they can to support cycling and sports" (BBC, 8/15).
After 14 years and 272 games in the National Rugby League, St. George Illawarra halfback NATHAN FIEN "announced his retirement." Fien, 34, "will play in the Illawarra local competition next year," but his days in the NRL will end with a round 26 match against the Warrior at WIN Stadium with the joint venture out of finals contention (AAP, 8/15). ... Bayern Munich Manager PEP GUARDIOLA is adidas' new ambassador. Guardiola will become the face of this season's Champions League campaign for adidas (adidas). ... A leading sports association said world boxing champion and key Ukrainian opposition leader VITALI KLITSCHKO "plans to run for his country's presidency" in '15 (AP, 8/14). ... League Championship Derby County has "honoured the club's longest-serving member of staff" by renaming the southwest corner of Pride Park the "GORDON GUTHRIE Stand." Guthrie started as a reserve-team player with the Rams, and during his six decades with the club "he has filled just about every position, including physiotherapist and trainer, and currently continues to work as the kit manager" (PA, 8/15). ... Former England test cricketer IAN BOTHAM's latest charity walk is to take him 160km from the north to the south of Sri Lanka, and "will be his toughest to date." The eight-day walk, "arranged to raise funds for those affected by the 30-year war in Sri Lanka," begins at Killinochchi on Nov. 1 and is due to end at Seenigama (REUTERS, 8/15).
BUBKA PROFILED: The N.Y. TIMES' Christopher Clarey profiles IOC Exec Board member SERGEI BUBKA as he runs for the position of IOC president. Bubka is "by far the youngest" of the six candidates. Bubka said, "The most important is not age. The most important is experience. I have big and huge experience now." Bubka is "focused on strengthening the Olympics' ties to the screen-centric younger generation." He is "worried that the average age of global Summer Olympic viewers, according to his data, is 50." His campaign platform "includes a proposal to create a global youth council" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/15).
'WAR' ON DOPING: Former U.S. hurdler EDWIN MOSES, speaking about the topic of doping in athletics, said, "When we talk of doping, we have to make it clear that we find ourselves in a war. I think that an athlete that knowingly dopes and is surprised by all the drug tests should receive the treatment of any other criminal; they should end up in jail. It is incalculable the damage that these type of people have done to the sport, to the athletes and to the public" (AS, 8/14).