Former World No. 1, French Open Champion Ivanovic Retires At Age 29
French Open champion ANA IVANOVIC "announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 29 on Wednesday because she no longer feels fit enough to compete at the highest level," according to Zoran Milosavljevic of REUTERS. Ivanovic became the first Serbian woman to win a grand slam tournament when she beat Russian DINARA SAFINA in the '08 French Open final, "following in the footsteps of compatriot" NOVAK DJOKOVIC who clinched the Australian Open title the same year. Ivanovic said on Facebook, "There is no other way to say it. I have decided to retire from professional tennis. It has been a difficult decision but there is so much to celebrate." Her French Open victory "catapulted Ivanovic to the summit of the WTA tour rankings" but she only occupied the top spot for a few weeks and dropped to 22nd at the end of '09 after a "dramatic loss of form." Ivanovic: "I played so many memorable matches. But staying at those heights in any professional sport requires top physical form and it's well-known that I have been hampered by injuries" (REUTERS, 12/29). The BBC reported Ivanovic said that "she will explore opportunities in business, beauty and fashion in retirement and said it will allow her more time for her work with" UNICEF, with whom she holds the position of National Ambassador for Serbia (BBC, 12/28). BLEACHER REPORT's Gianni Verschueren reported Ivanovic claims she "won't disappear from the sport completely," as she could have a "future in the media or coaching." Meanwhile, her husband, ManU midfielder BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER, is "strongly linked with a move to MLS, so the couple could be heading for the USA shortly" (BLEACHER REPORT, 12/28).