Jamie Hampton bids adieu to "first love" as she retires from the game

Jamie Hampton bids adieu to "first love" as she retires from the game

"Tennis is my first love, and even though it's been years since I've competed, it's still heartbreaking to officially say goodbye," said the former world No. 24.

Just over seven years ago, Jamie Hampton was dispatching the likes of Caroline Wozniacki and Kiki Bertens, was seeded at the US Open and had established herself as a player to be reckoned with on the WTA tour. Today, not long after her 30th birthday, she made the tough decision of saying goodbye to the sport she loves. 

Nagging injuries often forced Hampton to retire on the biggest stages and prevented her from reaching her full potential. 

After falling to Sloane Stephens at the 2013 US Open, Hampton spent the remainder of the year recovering from injuries. When she returned the next year, she won three matches in Auckland to set up a semifinal with fellow American Venus Williams. Hampton didn’t know it then, but she had just competed for the last time at the highest level.

"This has been a long time coming, guys. I'm sure those of you who have followed my tennis career know that I've undergone numerous surgeries in the past few years," Hampton wrote on Tuesday. "Unfortunately, they weren't successful enough for me to return to tennis."

Hampton turned pro in 2009 and undoubtedly had much more to do. The former world No. 24 never gave up hope and has spent the last few years fighting to get back into the game. 

"Tennis is my first love, and even though it's been years since I've competed, it's still heartbreaking to officially say goodbye," Hampton said. 

Although disappointed, Hampton is excited to move forward into a new chapter and will be taking college classes this upcoming fall. 

As Hampton shakes hands after a tough bout with the game she yearned to play, the 30-year-old bids adieu, and will always remember it started and finished with love.