• Tennis

Bartoli refuses to rule out return

ESPN staff
August 26, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Marion Bartoli retired as the reigning Wimbledon champion © Getty Images
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Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has admitted that she may change her mind and return to tennis in the future, but insists she is not reconsidering her shock retirement.

Bartoli stunned the tennis world when she called time on her career after losing her opening match to Simona Halep at the Western & Southern Open, just 39 days after winning her first grand slam title.

But while the 28-year-old insisted that she has not had second thoughts about her decision, Bartoli accepts that may not be the case forever.

"You can't predict what is going to happen down the line," Bartoli told BBC Sport. "[Any return] would come from desire deep inside, but for now I am just not at this point at all. My career has finished."

Bartoli played her final grand slam event in constant discomfort as 15 years of top-level tennis as a junior and professional took their toll on her body.

After being forced to retire in her first match since winning Wimbledon in Canada, her defeat in Cincinnati confirmed to her that it was time to hang up her racket.

"It looked so clear to me," Bartoli explained. "I just called my dad at the end of the match, because obviously he was there for my first ball when I hit it at five and a half, and there when I hit my ace to win Wimbledon at 28.

"He totally understood my decision because he knew more than anyone in the world all the hard work I had put in and everything I had to go through to be a grand slam champion.

"He knew 100% that my body is way too tired and I just can't do it any more. Of course I'm a tennis player, but I'm a human as well, and to suffer that much - I don't see the point of it."

Bartoli has been invited back to Wimbledon for the first Tuesday of the 2014 tournament, when the women's champion is the first to step foot on Centre Court.

"That will be totally fine to me," Bartoli said. "I think Phillip [Brook, the Wimbledon chairman] told me I will be in the Royal Box, which is great, and I will be very happy as I think Sabine [Lisicki, this year's runner-up] will do it, and she is my friend.

"But you know what, the 2013 Wimbledon title has just my name on it, and everyone will remember that."

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