After a 4-year absence, former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli returns to action. The 33-year-old hung up her racquet after winning the 2013 Wimbledon title. Bartoli said, “It’s going to be a huge challenge, I still have a lot of practice ahead of me. I’m really looking forward to being on the court again… Especially in Paris at Roland Garros in my home country, but also for the Fed Cup and Wimbledon.” The French native was initially aiming to return at the Miami Open hard court tournament in March but changed her mind.
In her entire tennis career, she has won eight WTA Tour titles and reached a career-high ranking of seventh in 2012. In 2016, Bartoli was a victim of a mystery virus and lost 20kg of weight. She pulled out of an All England Club exhibition event ahead of that year’s Wimbledon, citing concerns for her health. A month later, she was recovering from a rare illness, that had even medical experts baffled.
Marion Bartoli was the last French player to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. She is also the only one to have lifted a major title since Amelie Mauresmo in Wimbledon 2006. Many have likened her comeback to Belgian players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, and Swiss former World No 1 Martina Hingis. Clijsters retired in 2007, only to return to the WTA Tour 2 years later. She then went on to claim back-to-back US Open titles and the 2011 Australian Open crown.
After her second comeback, Hingis found plenty of success on the doubles circuit. Now, she has retired for a third time earlier this year. But, unlike the three before her, Bartoli was always just shy off the top of the world rankings. She quit the game with only a glimmer of what might have been, after winning her only Grand Slam crown. Having said that, she is far from a one-hit wonder. Bartoli has reached five major quarter-finals, including a 2007 Wimbledon final, where she lost to Venus Williams. Marion Bartoli will have to work her way up the rankings when she returns in four months’ time. Although she will miss the Australian Open, she is aiming for the French Open and the Fed Cup. France have not won the Fed Cup since 2004 and Bartoli was a part of the team that lost the 2005 final to Russia in Paris. So among the tennis players, not just Francesca Schiavone, but even Marion Bartoli returns to the action in the WTA.