In a small press room in Cincinnati, Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli announced her retirement from tennis, saying that she "couldn't permit herself to do things halfway."
With fellow players rushing to find television screens to watch the announcement, the 28-year-old, who who triumphed in the Ladies' singles final on Centre Court just 40 days ago, revealed that the pain of competing had become too much, and that she would rather leave the sport having reached the pinnacle of her career.
“I’ve been on the tour for so long, and I really push through and leave it all during that Wimbledon," Bartoli said, speaking after a first-round loss to Simona Halep in Cincinnati. "I really felt I gave all the energy I have left inside my body. I made my dream a reality and it will stay forever with me, but now my body just can’t cope with everything.”
“It becomes an ordeal when I can’t even really walk because I have so much pain in my Achilles tendon, or I have so much pain my shoulder or my rib or in my lower back that I can’t even serve after one set. It all means that at a certain point, the body has its limits and I went past them. I was obliged to do so many times to make it, and I achieved the most beautiful goal of my life, my career. And now it’s time to move on to other things.”
Bartoli has never been afraid to buck the proverbial trend, on the court and off, and after winning Wimbledon she maintained that she would "always remain the same, very humble, very low-key and easy-going, down to earth person."
It was a sentiment she touched on again in Cincinnati.
"I think if people ask, 'How is Marion Bartoli?' They will always respond, 'She's a nice person.' That's what I'm most proud of," she said.
"It's time for me to retire and to call it a career. I will have won Wimbledon this year in 2013, and I will stop with that. It was magnificent.”
The ebullient Frenchwoman revealed she had called her father in the middle of the night to tell him of her decision, revealing that winning Wimbledon was the frosting on the cake of her career for him too.
“He told me, ‘Marion, you can lose every single match you’re going to play. I don’t even care anymore. What I care for you is you get married, you find a nice husband, and that’s it,'" Bartoli revealed.
As a result, Bartoli will not be at the All England Club to defend her Wimbledon title next June, echoing the actions of Pete Sampras, who shelved his racket after winning the US Open in 2002.
"Everyone will remember my Wimbledon title. No one will remember the last match I played here," she said.
As always, she couldn't have put it better.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
20:19It was the wackiest of Wimbledons with the most unlikely of headline-makers: Sergiy Stakhovsky, Steve Darcis, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Kimiko-Date Krumm, Jerzy Janowicz, Sabine Lisicki, Marion Bartoli...View all