Marion Bartoli Announces Surprise Retirement Following First-Round Open Defeat
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, KIM CLIJSTERS, 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).