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At the Net: 2013 WTA retirees

11:34 AM, Dec 11, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Several women decided to retire from the WTA this year, spearheaded by reigning Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli and former top-five star Anna Chakvetadze.

Just over a month after capturing tennis' Holy Grail -- the Venus Rosewater Dish at Wimbledon -- for the biggest win of her career, a then 28- year-old world No. 7 Bartoli stunningly called it quits back in August.

The now 29-year-old eight-time WTA titlist had simply had enough.

"My body just can't do it anymore," the brainy French star said after bowing out in a second-round match in Cincinnati. "I've already been through a lot of injuries since the beginning of the year. I've been on the tour for so long, and I really pushed through and left it all during that Wimbledon. I really felt I gave all the energy I have left in my body. I made my dream a reality and it will stay with me forever, but now my body just can't cope with everything."

Note: Bartoli never did reach the Top 5.

Like Bartoli, the 26-year-old Chakvetadze also captured eight career WTA titles and soared as high as No. 5 in the world in September 2007 -- a year in which the Russian enjoyed her best Grand Slam showing with a run into the U.S. Open semifinals and also reached the final four at the big season-ending WTA Championships.

And, also like Bartoli, Chakvetadze would ultimately succumb to injuries, most notably a chronic back problem that forced her to hang up her racquet in September.

Note: Chakvetadze was never quite the same player following a robbery at her home in December 2007, when she was tied-up, her father was beaten, and a half dozen intruders made off with more than $300,000 worth of items and cash.

Much earlier in 2013, five-time WTA champion and former world No. 13 Agnes Szavay exited the tour due to a series of ailments. The promising 2007 WTA Newcomer of the Year, who achieved her career-high ranking back in 2008, was only 23 years old when she made her retirement announcement 10 months ago.

"This is a very emotional and in a way tragic moment in my life," the Hungarian slugger said. "For more than 10 years, my life was centered around tennis. That's what I'm good at, I love to play and I believe that I still had a lot in me. It took me a lot of time to make this decision, but I had no choice -- I don't want to risk my health."

Note: The capable Szavay reached at least one final for four straight years from 2007-10.

Some other former Top-50 players who announced their retirements in 2013 were Brits Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong and Melanie South, France's Severine Beltrame, Canadian Rebecca Marino, Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, and long-time American scrapper Jill Craybas. Baltacha is a former British No. 1; Keothavong was the only British woman to reach a WTA semifinal from 1992 and 2012; Beltrame made a run into the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2006; Marino was a WTA runner-up in Memphis in 2011; Sevastova was the only woman from Latvia to secure a WTA title over the last 20 years; and the 39-year-old Craybas' career highlight came when she shocked Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2005. The 2002 Japan Open champ also beat former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters in Miami in 2006.

"I tried to put the wins and losses into perspective and I hope I handled the ups and downs they provided with equal grace," Craybas said. "I have truly cherished my years on the tour as they have taught me so much and encouraged me to grow into a unique, determined individual."

Happy trails, ladies...

The Sports Network

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