NEW YORK (AP) — From the two-handed groundstrokes on each side, to that out-of-nowhere victory at Wimbledon this year to her equally surprising retirement less than two months after that, Marion Bartoli has put her unique spin on a career that's always kept people guessing.
So, maybe it shouldn't have come as a surprise when she said this Sunday: "It's pretty hard to say I would never come back."
The 28-year-old Frenchwoman, who retired suddenly after a loss at Cincinnati on Aug. 14, left the door cracked open ever so slightly during a news conference in Manhattan. Now she's getting ready to head to the U.S. Open, not as a player this time, but as a TV analyst.
"I think it will have to come from me, my desire," she said. "At the end of the day, you're the only one who knows everything you have to go through as a tennis player. It's hard for someone from outside to understand, starting from 6 years old and when you have to hit, probably, 2 million balls before being a pro tennis player. I'm the only one who can make the call."
When Bartoli said she was calling it quits, she explained that her body could no longer take the day-to-day pounding it had been enduring over her 14 years as a pro. With 11 days of rest behind her, she said she's slowly feeling better, but every time she tries to do something physically, "my body starts to hurt again."
Perfectly happy in her early stages of retirement, she's seeing museums and parts of New York she never had time to visit during her 11 trips to the U.S. Open, where her best finish was a trip to the quarterfinals last year.
But when announcing her retirement, Bartoli didn't ask to be taken out of the WTA rankings list. She's currently at No. 7, and it could potentially make for an easier comeback.
"You never know what's going to happen in any sport," she said. "I think I'll be there until the end of the year, and we'll see what's happening."
Yes, Bartoli said, the decision to retire was every bit as spur-of-the-moment as it seemed.
At a tournament in Toronto the first week in August, she defeated Lauren Davis 6-0, 6-3. The first set took 25 minutes.
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