Elena Dementieva retires from tennis, yes, not from a match!

WTA players seem to enjoy catching us unprepared. It’s not a shocker that Elena Dementieva decided to call it a career, but at this very moment, without any prior notice, it’s nothing less than a shocker. The graceful Russian knew she was about to retire even in the beginning of the season, but didn’t want to make her decision public so that people wouldn’t talk about it during the whole year. That’s so Elena. She’s so humble and never wants to draw spotlight to herself.

Still, it's very tough decision to make.  Very emotional.  I made the decision in the beginning of this season, so it was very hard coming to the tournaments knowing that this was my last one.  It was very emotional for me to play the whole year.

I didn't want to make it public.  I didn't want everybody talking about the whole season. You know, I only told to my family and close friends, so today in the court I was very surprised that everyone kind of knew about my secret.  They all were standing, and it was very special for me.

Elena Dementieva retires from tennis in Doha 2010

The 29-year-old Dementieva was ranked inside the Top 20 for 524 of 529 weeks since September 11, 2000. That’s ten years! She’s currently ranked ninth, and 328 of her career weeks she spent inside the Top 10.

I think it's the right time for me.  I never wanted to wait until my ranking dropped and I'm not going to be able to go to the main draw.  I always wanted to leave this sport with a passion for it.

Elena DementievaBesides her professionalism, graciousness, nice personality that both players and fans admired and appreciated, Dementieva can pride herself on 16 singles titles, including two this year, and as much singles finals (including the 2004 French Open and US Open finals), six doubles titles, and above all the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The last match of Dementieva’s 12-year career was today at the WTA Championships when she lost to Francesca Schiavone 6-4 6-2. Dementieva’s last win came just a day before her retirement from the sport when she defeated Samantha Stosur in Doha after a third-set tiebreaker.

Dementieva further explained reasons for quitting tennis, and is she implying she wants to have children?

To be honest with you, I mean, if I would be a man I would never stop playing.  But in the age 29; I have to think about something else.  I think I'm ready for the big change in my life.

Good luck in everything you do, Elena! You will always be a welcome friendly face to see if you decide to at least stay around the sport of tennis. (quotes via Forty Deuce, photos via Stephane Martinache, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour)

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16 thoughts on “Elena Dementieva retires from tennis, yes, not from a match!

  1. Bróna

    It was such a shock to hear this! She was (it's so weird to be talking about her in the past tense already) a great talent, extremely elegant and above all a class act on and off the court. Definitely the best player not to have won a slam. I'll really miss her.

  2. Helen25

    Elena contributed so much to tennis over the last decade, her epic 2009 semi-final match against Serena is one of my favorites. I'll miss seeing her playing on the court and mother Vera watching from the stands.

  3. Francesca

    Yesterday when I heard the news live was very sad, but mostly I was not expecting this, perhaps because Elena has always been a constant presence and it has always been constant even her commitment and the dedication to this sport. I never thought about her retirement, now I better understand the deep sadness of her eyes when she had to retire against Francesca in the semifinals of Roland Garros, Elena knew that she would not have had other occasions… I wish her all the best for her new life, I read that she has begun to study journalism, so maybe, in a few years, we will find her to comment on a match!! :)

  4. sam

    so sad to see elena gone, she still added much to the tour, such an assest for women's tennis!

    most of all i will miss her mum vera, she was my favorite tennis mum, so cute, i loved watching her during elena's matches!

  5. Mirjana

    This was a real shock, because it came from a nowhere. She is 29, but I never thought to see this happen. Still, she is kinda right, it's better to go this way. She was a great player, if it wasn't for her serve and mental weakness, I'm sure she would have won a Slam.

  6. Bel

    Totally understandable to have a long, well deserved break, BUT COME BACK, its not over ELENA!You are too good, too nice, and a brilliant athlete. Recharge the battery, refresh the brain, keep fit and healthy find new love for yourself and the love of the game, then come back to play for the love of the game.

  7. Varun

    it a shock to hear that Elena Dementiva, Russian Tennis player had retired from the PRO TENNIS WTA circuit. She is a great athlete while watching who gives her opponents a tough ride.

    I had always enjoyed watching all her matches & surely i loved her face & the way she plays. Surely, I am going to miss her.

  8. surendar singh kanka

    Its indeed very sad that such a fine lady & player like Dementieva is retiring and will no more be seen on the Tennis courts. How I wished and prayed that she wins a Grand Slam but then she did win the Olympic Gold and Federation Cup and hope that must be hugely satisfying to her.

    I personally was impressed with the grace and the dignity she carried herself on court and admire her beauty even today. Wish her all the best and happiness in her future endeavors. With Luv.

  9. Marine

    This is a big shame for tennis. I loved her, she was so nice and a great tennis player. Hopefully she'll play a couple of exhibitions soon.

  10. Daryl

    Truly a classy and great player. Though she has suffered so many heartbreaking defeats she has always reacted with class and dignity she will be sorely missed and greatly remembered.

    The tennis world will never be the same again without her. I truly hope and wish her all the best in the future, and thanks for the wonderful memories.

  11. Ibtisam

    I wish Elena the absolute best with whatever she chooses to do from now on. She was an amazing player, the best without a Slam really, and I will never, ever forget the fantastic moments she gave us on court. Love you Elena!

  12. Didier

    I started to seriously watch women's tennis somewhere in 2006 and to focus on only one lady on the tour; Elena was at the time not in the top 10, recovering from an injury. She was indeed not the top 1, but there was something different in her, compared to the other girls or ladies in the tour: grace, dignity & class. I saw then (with pleasure) the climbing in the rankings; the gold medal in Beijing was one major achievement; she became a permanent in the top 5 for quite a long time. Sad to say indeed, some of her best matches were losses (among others Williams in the 2009 Wimbledon semis, Henin in the second Tour of the 2010 Australian). The tour will be definitively different without her. She deserves now (after more than 10 years professional activities) to do something different. She will do it, whatever it is, with class. Let us all wish her all the best and remind her as one of the rare real ladies in tennis of all times.

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