Just over a month after Marion Bartoli won her first ever Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, the 28-year-old Frenchwoman announced she is retiring from tennis.
After a tough loss to Simona Halep at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday, Bartoli took to the media to announce she was stepping away from the sport, citing nagging injuries and the simple fact that she reached the summit of her career with that win at Centre Court of Wimbledon in early July.
“I’ve been already through a lot of injuries since the beginning of the year,” Bartoli told reporters in Ohio following her second-round loss. “I’ve been on the tour for so long, and I really push through and leave it all during that Wimbledon. 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.”
It might be shocking to some, but we've seen athletes walk away after accomplishing their goals in the past. John Elway, Lorena Ochoa and even Michael Jordan (for a short stint) left their sport after reaching the top, and Bartoli seems to understand that this is her time to say goodbye to tennis and focus not only on her health, but the rest of her life.
“After Wimbledon, when you ‑‑ it’s hard to explain ‑‑ but when you dreamed about something for so long and you have been on the tour for many, many, many years and you have been through up and downs and high and lows and already a lot of injuries since the beginning of the year, my body was really starting to fall apart,” she said. “And I was able to keep it together, go through with a lot of pain throughout this Wimbledon, and make it happen.
“That was probably the last little bit of something that was left inside me. It’s fine I have the right to do something else as well. I’ve been playing for a long, long time, and it’s time for me now. It is.”
Bartoli retires as the No. 7 player in the world, with the lone Grand Slam title to go along with her seven other WTA titles, and while the news might be shocking, it's admirable to see an athlete leave on their terms, stepping away from a sport because they feel it's time, not the rest of the world.
And it isn't like Bartoli will have a tough time finding something else to do. Her IQ is higher than that of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, so whatever she turns to after tennis will most likely be another success.