Marion Bartoli of France hits a return to Simona Halep of Romania during their women’s singles match at the Cincinnati Open tennis tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio on Wednesday. (REUTERS/John Sommers II)
CINCINNATI — In the cold light of day Marion Bartoli said she was having no second thoughts about her shock decision to retire from tennis and was looking forward to starting a new chapter in her life.
Wimbledon champion Bartoli, 28, stunned the tennis world 12 hours earlier when she left the court after a second round defeat at the Western and Southern Open and told a news conference: “I feel it’s time for me to walk away”.
Despite calls from some past and present players to step back, take a deep breath and reconsider what appeared to be a snap decision, the French world number seven remained convinced the timing of her call was the right one.
“It just sounded crystal clear at the end of the match,” Bartoli told reporters by phone on Thursday.
“It felt so clear. It’s not things you can explain. And you don’t say (to) yourself ‘well, if I lose that match, I retire’. You just feel it, feel that it’s the right time. I’m at peace with myself. I feel great mentally.
“I am not at all regretting anything. I am a tennis player, just not a professional tennis player. I’m not dead.”
When asked what she would miss most about playing on the professional circuit, Bartoli’s answer was, as always, direct and to the point.
“Not much to be honest,” she said. “I just really felt I gave it all. The body has (a) certain amount of something that you can give and I gave it all and that’s it.”
Bartoli explained that her 13-year career had taken a tough toll on her physically.
“I still wanted to play. I had goals but my body can’t stand that anymore,” she said.
“Since the beginning of the year, I suffered a lot of injuries, everywhere - foot, ankle, shoulder. I gave all I had to win Wimbledon. I touched my limits and I can’t stand to put (in) the same intensity on a daily basis anymore.”
Few people tipped Bartoli to win Wimbledon when the grasscourt grand slam event started, including herself, after injuries ruined the first six months of her season. She was even battling with pain during the tournament.
“At Wimbledon, I spent so much time with my physio. I felt heavy pain in my Achilles tendon, in my shoulder. I needed 30 minutes to be able just to walk after waking up,” she said.
“That’s why I said I’ve reached my limits. And this is what I’m the more proud of - having been able to do it, overcome the pain to win there.”
Since she lost on Wednesday, to 21-year-old Romanian Simona Halep in Cincinnati, many people have tried to convince her to take a break and come back or face regret.
But Bartoli, who is regarded as a thoughtful person on the tennis circuit, ruled out the idea.
“I completely live with my decision. The people I’m close to know that I’m not a person who changes her mind,” she said. “I have always been uncompromising when deciding something and I won’t change my mind.”
Just hours into her retirement Bartoli had already begun to plan out a new life which would continue to include tennis.
Bartoli said she would go to watch friends play, cheer for them, take classical dance classes and go to galleries and museums.
“There are a lot of things I can do outside of hitting a tennis ball and I am sure I will enjoy them,” she said.