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Mauresmo bids a fond farewell to tennis

sports Updated: Dec 04, 2009 00:22 IST

Agencies
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Two-time Grand Slam winner Amelie Mauresmo of France, on Thursday, announced her retirement following a decision made after “careful consideration”.

The former world No. 1 had won Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2006 in her stellar career. The last of her 25 titles came in a stunning fashion at Paris and Mauresmo ended her career ranked 21st in the world.

“I've come here to announce the end of my career. I made this decision after careful consideration,” an emotional Mauresmo said at a news conference in Paris.

Having been tipped as the future Grand Slam champion since reaching the final of the Australian Open as a teenager in 1999, she was criticised for losing her nerves on the biggest stage as she won her Wimbledon title the same year came after losing three semis. In 2004 she won Olympic silver.

But she suffered disappointments on home clay at Roland-Garros, where she could only manage two runs to the quarter-finals.

In 2005 she won the Masters end of season event.

Mauresmo last appeared on court on September 2 when she lost in the second round of the US Open against 39th-ranked Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak in straight sets.

She announced the following month she would not play again this season citing a slump in her motivation to keep competing at the top level.

Her final title came appropriately enough at the Paris Open earlier this year when she defeated Elena Dementieva.

She first appeared aged just 16 at Roland-Garros after receiving a wild card entry, then the following year she was crowned junior world champion.

Her first major breakthrough came with her run to the Australian Open final in January 1999, when she lost in straight sets to Martina Hingis.

Mauresmo then reached the 2002 Wimbledon semis as she showed she could mix serve and volley with the best on grass even though she struggled to find her best form on the Roland Garros clay, where home expectations appeared to weigh ever more heavily following her rise to prominence on other surfaces.

After further runs to the last four in 2004 and 2005, she finally secured the Wimbledon title in 2006 at the expense of Justine Henin, who ironically after retiring 18 months ago is now returning to the circuit.

In November 2003 Mauresmo added a Fed Cup win to her honours collection and in September the following year, despite a US Open quarter-finals defeat, she sat atop the rankings, the first French tennis star to achieve the feat.

But an appendicitis operation in 2007 gradually began to draw Mauresmo down and despite her Paris indoor title win she hinted that this season would be her last, confirming as much on Thursday.