Former world No. 1 and French Open champion Ana Ivanovic has announced her retirement from professional tennis.
The 29-year-old made the announcement on Facebook:
To my dear supporters.... pic.twitter.com/9ycCamNela— Ana Ivanovic (@AnaIvanovic) December 28, 2016
Along with compatriots Jelena Jankovic and Novak Djokovic, Ivanovic helped lead a Serbian revolution in pro tennis in the late 2000s—all three reached the No. 1 ranking at various points in their careers. Ivanovic was the first to achieve it, in June 2008, and was the first to reach a Grand Slam singles final, one year earlier at the French Open. After coming up short in her second Slam final, at the 2008 Australian Open, she won her first and only major by defeating Dinara Safina at the 2008 French Open.
Ivanovic’s time as No. 1 was short-lived, however. After reaching the sport’s apex in the summer of ’08, she took a third-round loss at Wimbledon to 133rd-ranked Jie Zheng and a second-round loss to 188th-ranked qualifier Julie Coin at the U.S. Open. By year’s end she was ranked No. 5, with Jankovic supplanting her as No. 1.
While Ivanovic failed to scale such heights again, she remained one of the tour’s most lethal competitors for the rest of her career. Her mix of baseline power and precision was a sight to behold, arguably none more so than at the 2014 Australian Open, where she defeated Serena Williams:
Ivanovic would go on to win 15 WTA singles titles in her career (along with one doubles title, way back in 2006), and represented Serbia in Fed Cup and at the Olympic Games for large stretches of time. In 2012, alongside Jankovic, Ivanovic reached the Fed Cup final.
Ivanovic, who married soccer player Bastian Schweinsteiger in July, struggled mightily on the court in 2016. She went just 15-16, lost six first-round matches and made it past the quarterfinals just once. Her nerves, particularly with her errant service toss, continued to betray her. She ended the season—and her career—on a five-match losing streak.
Nigel Sears said the level of Ivanovic in practice was still really high over past year.— DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) December 28, 2016
Injuries intervened + she struggled with nerves.
Just got off the phone with @AnaIvanovic. Says it wasn’t an overnight decision. Sounds at peace. Happy to hear that famous smile.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) December 28, 2016
Will miss you on tour, but excited for you and what your new chapter has to bring see you soon!! https://t.co/twK95j9Dnl— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) December 28, 2016
Pre-empting the inevitable: Ivanovic's HoF credentials: a Slam, No.1, longevity, 480 wins, unfailingly pleasant, helped usher in Serb tennis— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) December 28, 2016
We will miss seeing your smile on the court! Fighter, professional, great person. Enjoy your post-tennis life, Ana pic.twitter.com/1FXcBl4C2Z— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) December 28, 2016