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Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli unexpectedly retires

August 15, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli announced her retirement on Wednesday.
Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli announced her retirement on Wednesday. (Dennis Grombkowski / Getty…)

Quirky Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, whose constant mimicking of her serve between points would often annoy opponents and who unexpectedly won Wimbledon in July, suddenly announced her retirement from the game Wednesday night after a loss at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Bartoli, 28, whose Wimbledon win in the final over Sabine Lisicki was her only major tournament victory, said in Cincinnati that her body was always sore. She gave an emotional and teary press conference and said, "I can no longer deal with the pain.

"My body was really starting to fall apart and I was able to keep it together; go through the pain -- with a lot of pain -- throughout Wimbledon and somehow make it happen," Bartoli said. "That was probably the last little bit of something that was left inside me. I've been playing a long time. It's time for me to go now. It is."

She had been seeded 15th at Wimbledon and had upset Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2011 when the world's No. 1 player had made her comeback from an 11-month absence from the game after an incident in Germany in which she stepped on glass and badly cut her feet, an injury that led her to have a pulmonary embolism.

Bartoli has always been coached by her father, Walter, a physician, and it was him she hugged after hitting a final ace to beat Lisicki, a German, at Wimbledon. Before her retirement Wednesday, she was upset 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to Simona Halep. She said later that she called her father in France and finalized her decision.

"After I play about 45 minutes or an hour, she said, "I have pain everywhere, my left foot, my right ankle, my right hamstring, my Achilles' tendon. It's not fun any more. Even winning Wimbledon wasn't fun."

She had been playing her best tennis in the last two years, reaching her career-high ranking of No. 7 at the end of the 2012 season. It took her 47 tournaments to win her first Grand Slam-level event, the longest it took any woman to win her first and that moved her ranking back to No. 7. She had been scheduled to play the tournament at Carlsbad, Calif., last week but withdrew with injuries.

"You know, this is the way to go out," she said, "with my Wimbledon title. No one will remember the last match I played in Cincinnati. It's been a tough decision to make. I don't make it easily. I've pushed really, really to my physical limits to make it happen. But now, I just can't do it any more."

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