“One of the Saddest Days”: Marion Bartoli Opens Up on Serena Williams’ Retirement

Published 02/26/2021, 6:30 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 18, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. leaves the court after losing her semi final match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Former Grand Slam champion Marion Bartoli has shared her thoughts on whether Serena Williams could be contemplating retirement after failing to end her wait for a record 24th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

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The 39-year-old American fell to a straight-set defeat to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the semifinals at Melbourne Park this year.

Her somber wave at the crowd and tearful end to the post-match press conference prompted renewed chatter on whether the current World Number 7 could be entertaining retirement thoughts after her latest Grand Slam disappointment.

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Marion Bartoli believes Serena hasn’t yet made up her mind on retirement

The French tennis star Bartoli reckons that the American hasn’t “made up her mind yet” and will see how the remainder of the 2021 season goes on before taking a call on her future in the game.

Echoing the sentiment of millions who count themselves as Serena fans, Bartoli said it would be “one of the saddest days that tennis would have to face” when Serena eventually decides to hang up her racquet.

“I can’t imagine when Serena will walk out of the game… I just hope she can continue. I love to see her play,” said the Frenchwoman, in a frank admission of how she would feel when Serena bids adieu to tennis.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her quarter final match against Romania’s Simona Halep REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Bartoli added that more than Serena’s tennis, which still gives her a competitive edge against younger rivals, it’s the other attributes that Serena brings to the game that are worth marveling at.

Bartoli says Serena Williams’ urge to compete after motherhood is in itself an accomplishment

Putting Serena’s performances in the context of her brush with motherhood, the Frenchwoman said, “Being a mother myself, going through pregnancy and giving birth, you see how much your body’s changing, it would be impossible for me now to even think about training to get ready for a Grand Slam.”

Bartoli said that for the American to push her 39-year-old self after giving birth to Olympia and go through the thankless rigors of training drills in the quest of winning a Grand Slam is in itself “an accomplishment only a mother can relate to.”

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Raising hopes of finally ending her three-year wait for another Grand Slam title, Serena made short work of her opponents on the way to reaching the last four at Melbourne Park this year.

However, she couldn’t with the superior power game that Osaka, who happens to be one of her biggest cheerleaders, brought to bear on her in the battle for the final.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

750 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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