Mauresmo announces retirement

Former world number one Amelie Mauresmo calls time on her career.

     Mauresmo enjoys her 2006 Wimbledon title win over Justine Henin [GALLO/GETTY]
    Two-time grand slam winner and former world number one Amelie Mauresmo has called an end to her professional tennis career, saying she retires with 'no regrets and great pride'.

    The 30-year-old Frenchwoman, who turned professional in 1997, announced her retirement at an emotional news conference in Paris, citing the 'tough challenges' which prompted her to throw in the towel.

    Mauresmo first topped the rankings in September 2004 and clinched her two grand slam titles in 2006 when she won the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

    She also collected 25 WTA Tour singles crowns and won the Fed Cup with France in 2003 in her career.

    "I came here to announce the end of my career. I made this decision after careful consideration," Mauresmo said before bursting into tears.

    "I had to make a decision, which became evident in the last few months and weeks. When you grew older, it's more difficult to stay at the top.''

    "It was becoming tough mentally. What happened is I simply did not want to go training any more. My tennis life lasted 25 years, there were extraordinary things and tough moments."

    One of Mauresmo's toughest moments came in 1999, when she came out as a lesbian.

    "I had three main goals in my career, becoming world number one, claiming a grand slam title and a Fed Cup. I achieved all of them," said Mauresmo.

    "When I look back I have no regret and great pride."

    French favourite

    Mauresmo was inspired to play tennis after watching Yannick Noah win the 1983 French Open.

    She became the first player from France - male or female - to reach the No1 spot in September 2004. She held it for five weeks and recaptured it on March 20, 2006, holding it for the majority of that year until falling from the top in November.

    Mauresmo factfile

    Born July 5 1979 in France
    1997: Turned professional
    1999: Reached final of the Australian Open
    2000: Won Sydney International
    2001: Became top-ranked Frenchwoman after 16-match winning streak
    2003: Won Fed Cup title with France
    2004: Won silver medal at Athens Olympics and secured world number one ranking
    2006: Won first grand slam title at Australian Open
    2006: Won Wimbledon
    2009: Won Paris Open

    In total, she spent 39 weeks at No1.

    But she was never able to emulate Noah's feat of winning on the clay at Roland Garros, failing to go beyond the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam tournament in Paris, where she struggled to withstand the pressure in front of her home crowd.

    Mauresmo, whose backhand delighted tennis pundits around the world, also won the Fed Cup with France in 2003 and the WTA Tour championship in 2005.

    She won the Olympic silver medal in Athens in 2004.

    She had her best season in 2006, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon
    with victories over Justine Henin in the finals.

    "Amelie will go down in history as one of the best players of her generation and a terrific ambassador for women's tennis,'' WTA Tour chairman Stacey Allaster said.

    "Amelie is an extraordinary player, one of the nicest and friendliest personalities on Tour, and a true champion both in tennis and in life.''

    Asked about a possible comeback, Mauresmo said her decision was definitive.

    "Even if I've learned to never say never,'' the Frenchwoman said.

    "The players you are thinking about stopped earlier than me before coming back.''

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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