Goodbye, Gisela Dulko

by: Jonathan Scott | November 22, 2012

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Tennis fans should remember that Wimbledon 2009 match when Gisela Dulko closed out Maria Sharapova. I know I do.

Probably the silliest part of that back-and-forth, three-set bout is Sharapova's screech at the clip's 12:29 mark, just before her ouster. But the most enduring part of that battle is the pretty all-court game and tenacity of Dulko. The Argentine is a Grand Slam doubles champion and a former world No. 1 in tandem play, both with Italy's Flavia Pennetta, pictured here together at the South American's wedding in July 2011. Dulko retired quietly on Nov. 18 by way of a beautifully written statement posted on her brother-coach's website.

Among that letter's many highlights:

On why she is retiring: "I now have other priorities on which I want to focus. As a result, I don’t have the same desire or ability to make the sacrifices which are necessary to live the life of a tennis professional." [Note: Dulko married in July 2011.]

On her doubles partner and fellow beauty (@flavia_pennetta): "A very special thanks to Flavia Pennetta. Together we became number one in the world in doubles, won a Grand Slam and a Championships title. The most beautiful memory I carry of Flavia, however, is our friendship."

On her admirers and critics, so well said: "Thanks to all of my fans for all their love, and thank you also those who criticized me with respect."

On her deceased father: "Thank you to my father Estanislao. Even though he is no longer with me, he has always been along side of me as my angel on this road."

On her brother and coach, Alejandro (@aledulko): "Being siblings made our challenge of pursuing a tennis career as brother and sister that much more difficult. Still, we achieved so much together. We were able to separate the brother from the player on the court and the coach from the brother off the court and that made us inseparable. Besides being a man with a gigantic heart, you have been my protector. You played the role of a brother, coach, father and friend. You played every role in my career and in my life and you did it so well."

The WTA posted a commemorative photo gallery of Dulko's on-court exploits, which include four singles titles, 11 doubles titles with Pennetta, a WTA Championships doubles crown in 2010, and the 2011 Australian Open title—a victory that saw them come back from a set and 4-1 down in the final.

Your turn, Spin readers—what will be your own enduring memory of Gisela Dulko? Better yet, tell her yourself by way of tweeting @gidulko.

—Jonathan Scott (@jonscott9)

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