Looking back after Ivanovic retires from tennis at 29

By Ros Satar

  • Former World No. 1 and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic announced her retirement on Facebook
  • Will concentrate on ambassadorial work for now
Ana Ivanovic announced her retirement from professional tennis, effective immediately, via a live Facebook video.

 

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She told fans: “I’ve decided to retire from professional tennis. It has been a difficult decision, but there is so much to celebrate. I began dreaming of tennis when I was five and saw Monica Seles play on TV. My parents backed me all the way, and by the time I was ranked No.1 in the world and won Roland Garros in 2008, I’ve seen the heights I’ve never dreamt of achieving.

“I won 15 WTA titles, played so many memorable matches – I would say not bad for a tiny slip of a girl from Serbia!”

She continued: “Seeing those heights in any professional sport requires top physical form, and it’s well-known that I’ve been hampered by injury. I can only play if I can perform up to my own high standards, and I can no longer do that. So it’s time to move on.”

The news that she had withdrawn from the forthcoming ASB Classic line-up in WTA Auckland broke before Christmas, swiftly followed by an announcement that she had a announcement to make on Wednesday.

The bubbly Serbian achieved a lot early in her career, reaching the final of Roland Garros in 2007 and the Australian Open final in 2008 before going on to win her only Grand Slam title in Roland Garros and reaching the World No. 1 spot also in that year.

However, she would struggle that year with injuries (right thumb) and illness hampering her run at the WTA Finals. She would be a consistent presence in the Top 20 for the next few years before a resurgence in 2014, winning her first grass court title in Birmingham and finishing that year as the WTA’s match win leader beating Serena Williams into second place with 58 wins.

2015 saw her drop back a little and 2016 was not short of drama – her coach Nigel Sears was taken ill during her third round match at the Australian Open, and picked up just 15 wins in 2016, her last coming in Mallorca where she reached the quarter-final. She suffered first round losses in Wimbledon, the Rio Olympics, Cincinnati and the US Open before stepping back with a recurring wrist injury for the rest of the season.

She made a brief return to the courts as part of this year’s curtailed IPTL format, and was set to open her season at the Auckland tournament before her announcement.

She will always be remembered as one of the nicest, friendliest players on the tour, and will now use the time to explore new opportunities. She will become an ambassador for sport and healthy living and is looking forward to branching out in the areas of business, beauty and fashion.

She also announced that she would have more time for her philanthropic works, including her work as a UNICEF Ambassador.

As reported by the WTA, CEO and Chairman Steve Simon said: “Ana is a true champion and a great ambassador for the sport of women’s tennis. She has contributed greatly to the entire sport, both in her home country of Serbia and across the globe. She will certainly be missed on our tour as she is not only one of a very select few that achieved the WTA No.1 ranking but is also one of the most respected players on Tour.”

It is more fitting though to leave the last words to the former World No. 1 herself, as she closed out her short announcement to fans saying:

“I have lived my dreams and I really hope to help others do so as well, so don’t be sad. Be optimistic alongside me.”

 

Ivanovic Quick Facts

  • Born 6 November 1987 – Belgrade, Serbia
  • 15 Career Titles
  • 1 Grand Slam Title (Roland Garros, 2008)
  • 2 Grand Slam Finals (Roland Garros 2007, Australian Open 2008)
  • Career Prize Money: $15,510,787
  • W/L Singles: 480-225

 

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