Quick Take: Marion Bartoli Announces Her Retirement from Tennis

At 10:30 p.m. in Cincinnati, Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli announced that she was retiring from tennis. Amy has more here, including quotes from Bartoli at tonight’s presser.

Shocked does not even come close to describing it.

Below, we try and process our thoughts.

Juan José:

I do not understand this … until I stop to think about it and I do. There’s this, for example:

Lindsay Davenport sounded genuinely puzzled that Bartoli would elect not to go and defend her title at Wimbledon. As in, “Showing up to defend the title is part of the honor of winning it.” But that just illustrates the difference in thought processes from two women who’ve competed at the very top of women’s tennis. Not everyone is the same, and no one is like Marion Bartoli.

Marion Bartoli reached a career high of World No. 7, something that happened just last year (that’s her current ranking, too). She won eight titles, the last one of which was Wimbledon. She raised the famous Venus Rosewater Dish at age 28, after being a pro for 13 years. She played nearly 800 matches on the WTA and ITF tour.

The point of that last paragraph is that Marion Bartoli has been through a lot, has endured the grind of being a pro tennis player for quite a while, and she’s likely to never have as much of a high as she just had by winning Wimbledon ever again. As a matter of fact, before winning Wimbledon this past July, she hadn’t won a WTA title since Osaka in 2011.

Marion Bartoli had a dream. It was to win Wimbledon. She somehow got a chance in 2007, but it slipped away. That dream had to feel pretty unattainable as she started this year’s Wimbledon. And yet, she ended up winning it.

The odds of that happening again are slim to none. And the grind of the pro tennis tours can be quite unbearable. Hence, I can understand perfectly why it was time for her to call it quits. An athlete doesn’t arrive at this decision lightly — for them, it’s like throwing themselves off a cliff. They’ve been professional athletes for a long time, and before that they were professional athletes in training. Being a pro is all they know.

I’m convinced that Marion will have a fruitful post-tennis career. She will re-invent herself much in the same way as she re-invented her serve every two or three weeks. She’ll remain an original, and a beacon of iconoclasm wherever she goes. My best wishes go out to her.


Uuuuum … wow. Okay, so now that I’ve picked my jaw off of the floor, my first reaction is that she’s going to regret this. I remember when Roddick retired last year, as shocking as that was, he had the announcement during the day, on his day off. It was after a win, not a loss. He called all of his family members so they knew it was coming. It was a rational decision.

This seems different. It’s 10:30 at night in Cincinnati. She’s just coming off the high of winning Wimbledon and the emotional and physical exhaustion that comes with it. Nothing feels good. She just lost a match. She clearly needs to take a break and regroup, but to retire? Now? It seems like a spur of the moment thing, and like something she might regret.

However, Marion has never done things conventionally, we all know that, so if this is indeed it, my next feeling is a selfish one: sadness that I never got to watch her in person or interview her. I have long dreamed of sitting down with Marion and Walter and doing a one-on-one. I wanted to experience the madness of Marion up close. But maybe I’ll still get to do that some day, even if not in competition.

Finally, I feel appreciation. I’ve always had a love for the eccentric, and therefore Bartoli has always caught my eye. She has been an inspiration.

Here are some things I’ve written about her recently:

Marion Bartoli can hog my stage any time

Women at Wimbledon: Handshakes, Heartbreak, and Heroines

Off-Beat Marion Bartoli the Perfect Champion for Wacky 2013 Wimbledon

Thanks for everything, Marion. And know that you can come back. But only if you want to.

EDIT: I wrote a few more thoughts on the subject for BR, “Marion Bartoli’s Retirement Leaves Tennis World in Shock.”

6 Responses

  1. My jaw is still on the floor
    My jaw is still on the floor August 15, 2013 at 12:52 am |

    Whaaaat? Why? Why? Why? Whaaaaat?… That was pretty much my reaction when I saw the first tweet about it and I’m still like whaaaat? why?… I really don’t understand why now, she could’ve waited at least until the US open, just two weeks more!!! I really really don’t get it and I agree with Lindsay, it sounds like something that she will certainly regret in the future. It came out of nowhere. I don’t know what to think. I’m just hoping that was nothing but #hormones. Anyway, I’ll miss her.

  2. Vamos Faye
    Vamos Faye August 15, 2013 at 4:43 am |

    I had a feeling she wanted to retire right after that Wimbledon win, i mean, talk about leaving everything on Wimby center court, right? But, kudos to Marion for following her heart, it takes a lot of courage to walk away from something, from the sport you’ve loved and been doing all your life that it basically becomes your life. and like you Lindsay, I have a special place in my heart for the quirky, eccentric ladies on tour. I’m really going to miss her. But we’ll have Wimbledon 2013 and those fierce Louboutin boots.

  3. sam
    sam August 15, 2013 at 6:58 am |

    this has made me pretty emotional. still haven’t completely got my head around her being the Wimbledon champ. tennis is gonna be a lot less fun without her for sure

  4. takeiteeazy
    takeiteeazy August 15, 2013 at 8:09 am |

    There’s nothing to worry about. Bartoli will admit she made a mistake within a day or two.

    Tsonga made a wise decision regarding his health (finally!) and decided to skip the US open to take time to heal. Meaning he was the one using the French brain yesterday when Marion made the announcement. Once it is returned to Bartoli, she will announce her comeback to the tour, and Tsonga will accidentally walk into a stop sign, and all will return to normal.

    I can’t believe you didn’t catch that, Lindsay.

  5. Master Ace
    Master Ace August 15, 2013 at 8:49 am |

    I am still in shock that Bartoli has retired. Glad to see her get her Slam and she was beginning to embrace the idea of being known as Wimbledon champion and on the last 2 WTA All-Access shows, she was mentioning her members badge and that she was member number 500 and was very pleasant in her interviews.
    Before winning Wimbledon, her year has not been good as she was struggling with her situation with her coach situation after her Dad decided to stay home(or Bartoli told him I need a change depending on your interpretation). Other than Wimbledon, her record was 15-14. Injuries could have played a role for her struggles and finally decided to call it a career. Wonder if she retired without winning Wimbledon, would her announcement be getting a lot of press.
    With her winning Wimbledon and retiring yesterday, I think she is going to miss out on a lot of money in endorsements(ie – shoe contracts). As I saw around the twitter world and other sites, New Haven had her face(along with Lisicki) advertising their tournament in a few days. She finally made peace with the French Federation this year and was part of their Fed Cup team. Mladenovic and Cornet were singing the praises of Bartoli after Bartoli won Wimbledon. I wonder what was the French federation reaction to the retirement of Bartoli?

  6. RZ
    RZ August 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm |

    I will miss seeing her play. She was a colorful presence who brought some flair to the game. More importantly, she was thoughtful, eloquent, and classy in her comments. This quote she made in response to some of the derogatory comments made about her at Wimbledon shows that: “I am not blonde, yes. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely.” That is certainly one of the tennis quotes of the year.

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