Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic retires from tennis at 29

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LONDON (AP) -- Ana Ivanovic is retiring from tennis at age 29, ending a career in which she was ranked No. 1 in 2008 but can no longer play at the highest level because of injuries.

In a live broadcast on Facebook, Ivanovic said Wednesday "it was a difficult decision, but there is so much to celebrate." The Serb won 15 tour titles, including the 2008 French Open, and is now ranked No. 63.

"It's been well-known that I've been hampered by injuries. ... I can only play if I can perform up to my own high standards and I can no longer do that," she said. "So it's time to move on."

Ivanovic became a UNICEF national ambassador for Serbia in 2007 and says that position will figure in her plans.


Ana Ivanovic Retires From Tennis at 29

LONDON — Ana Ivanovic, once the top-ranked women’s player in the world, announced her retirement from tennis on Wednesday at 29.

“It was a difficult decision, but there is so much to celebrate,” Ivanovic, who saw her play slide because of injuries, said in a live broadcast on Facebook.

Ivanovic, of Serbia, won 15 WTA Tour titles, including the 2008 French Open, and was ranked 63rd at the time of her announcement. She said the injuries she had dealt with had contributed to her decision.

“I can only play if I can perform up to my own high standards, and I can no longer do that,” she said. “So it’s time to move on.”

Ivanovic, who became a United Nations Children’s Fund national ambassador for Serbia in 2007, said she would become “an ambassador of sport and healthy life” while also pursuing opportunities in business, beauty and fashion.

Retirement will give her more time for her work with Unicef, she said, adding, “I’ve lived my dreams, and I really hope to help others do so as well.”

Ivanovic’s career reached its peak in 2008, when she was ranked No. 1 and won the French Open. She was a finalist at Roland Garros in 2007 and at the Australian Open in 2008, but she lost in the first round of this year’s United States Open to 89th-ranked Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic. It was Ivanovic’s second straight first-round exit at Flushing Meadows.

She announced a week later that she would sit out the rest of the season because of a recurring wrist injury and would have surgery on a toe she had broken at the Australian Open in 2015.

In a statement on the WTA’s website, Steve Simon, the tour’s chief executive, called Ivanovic “a true champion and a great ambassador for the sport of women’s tennis.”

“She has contributed greatly to the entire sport, both in her home country of Serbia and across the globe,” Simon said. “She will certainly be missed on our tour.”


Ana Ivanovic announces retirement from pro tennis

Twenty-four hours after teasing her 1.23 million Twitter followers with news of an "important" announcement, Ana Ivanovic has revealed that she is retiring from professional tennis.

In a two-minute video streamed on her official Facebook page, the 29-year-old said hanging up her racket -- after being hindered by injuries -- was a "difficult decision" to make.
"There is no other way to say it -- I've decided to retire from professional tennis. It has been a difficult decision but there is so much to celebrate. I began dreaming of tennis when I was five (years old) when I saw Monica Seles playing on TV..." the Serbian said, referring to the nine-time grand slam winner born in Novi Sad.
"I've seen the heights I've never dreamed of achieving -- 15 WTA titles, (reached) three grand slam finals, a Fed Cup final and I've played so many memorable matches. Not bad for a tiny slip of a girl from Serbia!"

Aided by a devastating forehand, Ivanovic won her first and only grand slam singles title in 2008, beating Russia's Dinara Safina in the French Open final -- the victory, and an Australian Open final appearance earlier that year, sent her to the top of the women's rankings.

Since turning pro in 2003, Ivanovic earned $15.5 million in on-court prize money, according to the WTA website. With her substantial sponsorship revenue, she was eighth on Forbes' highest-paid female athletes list for 2016 despite slumping to 63rd in the rankings.

WTA CEO and chairman Steve Simon described Ivanovic as a "true champion" in a statement released Wednesday.
"Ana is a true champion and a great ambassador for the sport of women's tennis," Simon said.

"She has contributed greatly to the entire sport, both in her home country of Serbia and across the globe. She will certainly be missed on our tour as she is not only one of a very select few that achieved the WTA No. 1 ranking but is also one of the most respected players on Tour."

Nigel Sears, who coached Ivanovic in a pair of stints, called her "a rare and true talent" and a "pleasure to work with."

"Her special blend of sparkling, instinctive shotmaking, spearheaded by that very special forehand and also armed with a deft touch -- she always kept you on the edge of your seat!" Sears, the father in-law of men's No. 1 Andy Murray, told CNN in an email.

The forehand was "a very natural, totally unique shot which on her day was capable of destroying any opponent," he continued. "The winners would come from almost anywhere on the court and nobody could do anything about it.
"Ana was one of the most emotional players on Tour and wore her heart on her sleeve."

Injuries have dogged Ivanovic in recent years, which she said had contributed to her decision to bow out at a relatively young age. After her triumph in Paris in 2008, a thumb injury affected Ivanovic the rest of that season and she was never the same player.

Her last appearance on court was at the US Open in August, when she was upset in the first round. A month earlier she married former Germany football captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.

"It's well known I've been hampered by injuries so for myself, my fans and all these young girls and boys who might be watching me -- I can only play if I perform up to my own high standards and I can no longer do that, so it's time to move on," said Ivanovic, a longtime friend of Serbian men's 12-time grand slam winner Novak Djokovic.

"Tennis has always been my love but I'm so excited about what comes next ... I will explore opportunities in business, beauty and fashion among other endeavors. I will also have more time for my philanthropic activities.
"I've lived my dreams and really hope others to do so as well."

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