On the afternoon after her stunning retirement announcement, Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli says she has no plans for a comeback and did not make a rash decision retiring at the age of 28.
The Frenchwoman told a small group of reporters on a conference call that she made the decision to retire “when I said it [Wednesday night]."
"You don't think about it before," Bartoli said. "It's not like a list you’re doing in the morning and say 'Today maybe I will retire' and then you check it the next morning and you say 'Oh, am I going to retire actually or not?' It's something that happens. When you feel the moment it's the moment and that's what I felt yesterday."
Bartoli said the pounding her body has absorbed and coping with ongoing pain were primary factors in her decision.
“I've been on the road for more than 13 years,” she said. “It's tough to take. I really felt that year after year my body started to fall apart everywhere. And I really did it all during this Wimbledon. I really went through a lot of pain. A lot of the mornings it took me more than 30 minutes to be able to start to walk because of my Achilles pain and the same for my shoulder. So I really pushed myself to all the limits to make it happen and to achieve my dreams. I really left all I had over there and it was time for me.”
Bartoli isn’t totally clear on her post-retirement plans. She has no plans to return to school, but said she may still play recreational tennis and resume a childhood passion: classical ballet.
“Everyone talks like I’m dead and I’m not dead," Bartoli said. " But I can still go on court and hit some balls, I’m just not doing it professionally.
“I did eight years of classical ballet when I was younger and I will probably do that again. I will probably go to some museums and galleries, but there are things outside of sport and I will enjoy them.”
Bartoli is one of a number of former Grand Slam champions and Top 5 players who have prematurely retired in the past decade, including Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin and Elena Dementieva. She concedes life on the WTA Tour can be a grind.
“It is difficult life overall because if it was easy everyone could do it,” she said. “It takes something special to be a Kim, Justine, or Dementieva—they are very special people. It takes a lot of commitment and dedication, and everything that can make champions in every sport. For me it was [age] 28 and for others it was longer, but it depends on every individual. It’s very hard to say there is a [specific age].
Bartoli was adamant that unlike Clijsters, Henin and Hingis, she has no plans to launch a come back.
“I'm not halfway,” she said. “I'm either totally invested to something or just walk away. And I feel it's time for me to just walk away.”