I don’t care what sport commentators and viewers say, unless you’re a professional athlete, only a player knows when the right time is to retire.
Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli presented sad news to those around the world who adore her – She’s leaving the game of tennis. “My body just can’t do it anymore,” she said in a recent press conference after losing to Simona Halep at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinatti.
The greats before her, including Pam Shriver Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and my all-time favorite player, Martina Navratilova, who won Wimbledon nine times, all walked off the court in their own time.
Injuries are the Achilles heel of all sports.
Venus Williams who suffers from chronic back pain is admirable in that she’s still playing; However, her absence hurts her fans who want to see her compete. Which leads me to another point: Professional athletes are treated by the world’s top doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors, and yet chronic pain and injury force them out of their passion.
I find the level of injury today interesting, and somewhat concerning, compared to that of 20 years ago. Female players are much stronger and their physiques more muscular. That is, Serena Williams, Sam Stosur and Sloane Stephens, to name a few. Still, the human body, in all its rigorous training and preparation is not built for consistent hours of agility, endurance, muscle response and power.
I applaud Bartoli for her decision to honor her physical and mental wellness as she fought back tears during her announcement. She did as much for the game as her body would allow.
May you rest in peaceful retirement, Marion.