Doha, 30 October 2010 | AAP
Russian star Elena Dementieva shocked the tennis world on Friday, announcing her retirement from tennis after bowing out of the WTA Championships in Doha.
The 29-year-old world No.9’s final match ended in a 6-4 6-2 loss to French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.
The Beijing Olympic gold medallist and dual grand slam runner-up had scored her 576th and final tour win against Australian Samantha Stosur on Thursday.
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me through my career, including the WTA, all of the tournaments and the staff, all of the WTA players I have had the pleasure of playing with, the sponsors that are so important for our sport, my mother Vera and my family and of course, the fans that have been there for me through the years,” said Dementieva.
“While I look forward to the next chapter of my life, I will miss all of you very much.”
Dementieva reached a career-high No.3 in the world only last year and retires as the best player of her generation never to win a major.
She turned professional in 1998 and won her first WTA event at the Bausch & Lomb Championships (Amelia Island) in 2003.
She captured 16 WTA titles, including two this year at the Medibank International (Sydney) and the Open GDF Suez (Paris).
One of the most consistent players in the history of the sport, Dementieva competed in 46 consecutive Grand Slams, only missing this year’s Wimbledon after having to withdraw with a calf injury.
Dementieva became the first player from Russia ever to reach the semifinals of the US Open (2000) and was part of the historic first all-Russian Grand Slam final at 2004 Roland Garros, losing to Anastasia Myskina.
She has been ranked inside the Top 20 for almost eight straight seasons (since April 21, 2003), reaching a career-high of World No.3 in singles (April 6, 2009) and also achieving a Top 5 ranking in doubles (April 2003).
Dementieva also represented Russia in 18 Fed Cup ties, leading them to victory in 2005.