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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Former WTA World No.3 (in both singles and doubles) Nadia Petrova has announced her retirement from professional tennis after a 19-year career.

“Tennis has given me so much,” Petrova told WTA Insider. “It’s given me a career, shaped me as a person, allowed me the opportunity to travel the world, make friends internationally and learn about many cultures. My opportunities have become endless and for that, I’m forever grateful.”

The 34-year-old from Russia concludes a career which saw her clinch 13 WTA singles and 24 WTA doubles titles, reach a Grand Slam singles semifinal, advance to two Grand Slam doubles finals and win the WTA Finals doubles title on two occasions.

Check out Petrova’s full statement below and click here to read WTA Insider’s exclusive interview with the two-time French Open semifinalist.

Tennis has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. It was pretty much everything I did on a daily basis and the little time I had off, I would spend with my loved ones. I suppose when the time comes to say goodbye, it becomes bitter sweet. It’s confusing, somewhat painful, scary yet also gratifying. I’ve decided to turn the page and move on to another stage in my life and I’m ready to do it. Tennis has given me so much. It’s given me a career, shaped me as a person, allowed me the opportunity to travel the world, make friends internationally and learn about many cultures.

My opportunities have become endless and for that, I’m forever grateful. My career has been great, obviously with highs and lows. We all know I was plagued with many injuries which made some of my calendar years challenging. Unfortunately that’s part of an athlete’s life and we all learn how to deal with that. We fall and then we get back up and keep going. Then there comes a time, no matter what you do, say or feel, nothing is ever enough. Your body lets you know it’s had enough. In 2013, when I lost my mother, emotionally I was a mess. On top of that, I was dealing with a hip injury which affected a good portion of the year. I made the decision to take some personal time to heal physically and emotionally. Hopefully that would help me once I decided to step back on court. In February 2014, I tried playing to see how I felt. My mind was still everywhere but on the court and my body was just not responding. It was painful. Painful because I felt useless and the player I was once, was no longer there.

I took more time and when I decided to start training again, my body felt good but once I was aggressively doing court work, it started to break down again. I had to start facing the inevitable and that was that my career had come to an end. To be able to compete at a high level with these top players, I had to be in the best shape and if my hip was not holding up, there was no way I could move on. After many failed attempts of trying to make a come back, I came to the realization that maybe it was time to turn the page and say goodbye to tennis competitively. I would be starting a new chapter in my life, exploring other interest and keeping myself occupied but most importantly spending my time with my loved ones. Making up for lost time.

I said to myself.. “I want to start a family, I want to be home more and I want to enjoy a lot of the things I never had time for while I was on the road”. So although it’s been unfortunate that I was unable to overcome this last injury and compete again, I’m excited for what’s to come and be a part of tennis in the future with other aspects of the sport. I’ve been blessed that Tennis has been such a huge part of my life professionally for the past 15 years. I want to thank every single one of you who has made it possible along the way. Whether that’s been sponsors, tournament staff, WTA, my travel team (which consisted of my coach, trainer, physio and manager), friends and family.. Thank you all. Last but not least MY FANS!! You have been my motivation, my back bone and the reason why I hadn’t given up sooner. Without fans, there wouldn’t be tennis. You all make the sport. Thank you all so much for believing in me and helping me through out my entire career.

Without any further delay, I’d like to make it known that I’m officially retiring from the sport. I plan to stay involved in tennis in the near future. I will be devoting a lot of my time to the sport through charity work which I will make known soon. I may no longer be competing but I will never be far from a court. My heart will always belong there.

Thank you all for making my career so memorable.

Nadia P

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Simona's Halepeno Hot Shot

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

En route to her second Wimbledon quarterfinal in the last two years, Simona Halep hit a scintillating shot to earn the HSBC Play of the Day.

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

SYDNEY, Australia – Former champion Agnieszka Radwanska eased past qualifier Duan Ying-Ying and into the semifinals of the Apia International Sydney on Wednesday evening.

At last week’s Shenzhen Open, Radwanska saved three match points to defeat Duan in a tougher-than-expected season opener. This time around it was a far more straightforward outing, the No.2 seed completing a 6-3, 6-2 victory in an hour and 20 minutes.

“Sometimes you play people two or three weeks in a row, like Caroline and I had last year in Asia, but I’m definitely more happy with this performance than in Shenzhen,” Radwanska said in her on-court interview. “It’s another semifinal here, so I’m very happy with that.

“I was warming up at 4pm and it was still very hot, so I was a little bit lucky to play this evening. I was watching the first match here and it was unbelievably hot – the guys were playing amazingly.”

Despite the more hospitable conditions, both players made heavy weather of holding onto their serve early on. But after a succession of breaks, Radwanska finally put some daylight between the two, opening up a 5-3 lead before calmly serving out the set.

Unlike in Shenzhen, there was to be no Duan comeback, Radwanska rattling off the first four games of the second set to ease her way into the last four.

Radwanska lifted the title in 2012, and standing between her and a return to the final is marathon woman Barbora Strycova. Earlier in the day, Strycova withstood the worst of the midday sun to win an epic encounter against Caroline Wozniacki. “Like I said, she was playing unbelievable tennis and she’s really on fire. Last year she also played amazing tennis. I’m just expecting a good match and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”

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WTA Legends Reunite At Wimbledon

WTA Legends Reunite At Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, Great Britain – Before the remaining eight battled it out this week at the All-England Club, the eleventh reunion of the WTA Alumnae & Friends Program was held at the San Lorenzo restaurant in SW19, drawing legends from around the world.

The reunion took place at San Lorenzo restaurant in SW19 with WTA Board Member Lisa Grattan serving as emcee. Notable former players in attendance included Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Betty Stove, Ilana Kloss, Frankie Durr, Mima Jausovec, Pam Shriver, Katrina Adams, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, Rennae Stubbs and Mercedes Paz, who was celebrating her 50th birthday.

The highlight of the afternoon, which was overseen by Hall of Famer Peachy Kellmeyer and co-hosted by the Women’s Tennis Benefit Association, was the presentation of the Georgina Clark WTA Mother Award to the beloved Bulgarian former player and coach, Youlia Berberian-Maleeva.

Youlia coached three of her daughters into the Top 10 on the WTA Rankings: Manuela Maleeva-Fragnière (No.3), Katerina Maleeva (No.6) and Magdalena Maleeva (No.4). The Maleeva sisters made Grand Slam history in 1993 when all three were seeded at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Combined, the trio won 39 WTA singles titles throughout a playing career spanning more than two decades (1982-2005) and Youlia was right beside them the whole time, attending more than 1000 tournaments.

Maleeva Family

Youlia herself was a decorated tennis player, although her career was restricted mostly to Bulgaria and other Communist countries due to travel restrictions imposed on Communist Bloc citizens by the Soviets. However, Youlia still took home 31 national titles across singles, doubles, and mixed, including winning the Bulgarian National Title nine times (1962-1976). She also won the Lebanon Open in 1965 and the Yugoslav Open in 1973, as well as led her country to two Fed Cup semifinals as the Bulgarian National Women’s Coach, a position she held for 13 years (1982-1995).

In 2004, Youlia opened the Maleeva Tennis Club to the public in Sofia. Owned by the Maleeva family, it is the largest sports complex in Bulgaria and offers year-round tennis and squash with Youlia as head coach.

Away from the tennis courts, Youlia has remained politically active and has served as the president of the Bulgarian Women’s Association since 1995. She holds an ongoing role as board member for the American University in Bulgaria, and from 1997 to 2001 she was a member of the Bulgarian parliament representing the anti-Communist bloc.

Youlia shared the story of the family’s struggle against the Communist regime, travel restrictions in early days and eventual successes in a book titled, “I Want, I Believe, I Can.”

WTA Legends And Maleeva Family

The Maleeva sisters were in attendance for Youlia’s presentation of the award, along with Youlia’s husband, Georgi Maleev, her brother Edward and his partner Lynda, and three grandchildren – Lora, Timo and ‘Little Youlia’.

The Georgina Clark Mother WTA Award is named in memory of the WTA’s former vice president for European Operations and Worldwide Tour Director, who passed away in 2010. Clark was also the first woman to umpire a Wimbledon final – Martina Navratilova vs. Chris Evert, in 1984.

The award given in her honor recognizes women who’ve raised their own children and also contributed in a significant way to the life of the extended ‘WTA Family’. Previous recipients Ann Haydon-Jones, women’s tennis pioneer Gladys Heldman, Original 9 member Judy Dalton, Francoise Durr and former Swedish No.1 Ingrid Lofdahl Bentzer.

Here are a few more photos from the WTA Alumnae & Friends Reunion, courtesy of Art Seitz:

Youlia Maleeva, WTA Bracelet Award

Maleeva Family, Billie Jean King

Maleeva Family, Steve Simon

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News | WTA Tennis English

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

SYDNEY, Australia – Timea Babos and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova hit through top seeds Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova, 6-4, 6-4, to win their first title as a pair at the Apia International Sydney.

Babos and Pavlyuchenkova were playing just their second event together, playing just once at the end of last season in Moscow. Babos ended her seven-month partnership with Yaroslava Shvedova after the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

“I think at least we found a good balance on this,” Babos said after the match. “It was definitely a great week. We beat some really good teams, the best teams, the last two, three rounds.

“To start like this, our partnership together is important and promising.”

Pavlyuchenkova, by contrast, had opted to focus on singles for most of 2016, though the former Singapore alternate is more than capable on the doubles court.

“It’s amazing, because Timea, she’s more experienced in doubles,” said the Russian. “She has a lot more titles and done great in the Grand Slams, as well.

“I’m really happy, because it’s also nice to win a title in doubles. I feel like we had also been playing really good together.”

Mirza teamed up with Strycova last summer, and the duo were playing their first event of 2017 together after the former No.1 paired with Bethanie Mattek-Sands to win the Brisbane International, passing the top spot to her good friend after 91 weeks leading the WTA rankings. 

The first set came down to just one break of serve, whereas the second featured four.

“We just went out there and tried to do our game, tried to dictate and play how we always played before and tried, like Timea said, to enjoy and not put too much pressure,” added Pavlyuchenkova.

Babos and Pavlyuchenkova raced out to a 3-0 double break lead in the second set, and though Mirza and Strycova twice clawed the deficit down to one, the unseeded team emerged victorious after one hour and 14 minutes of play. For the fast-rising Hungarian youngster, it was her second title in Sydney.

“This was actually my first year when I played singles here,” said Babos. “Last year I only played doubles. It’s a great tournament. In general, Australia [is] one of my favorite countries if not the favorite. So I really enjoy being here. It’s great atmosphere.”

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Flawless Serena Marches Into Final

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

LONDON, England – Serena Williams moved one step closer to a historic 22nd major with a straight set win over Elena Vesnina in Thursday’s Wimbledon semifinals.

Displaying no trace of the nerves that have occasionally accompanied her quest to match Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam titles, Williams ruthlessly closed out a 6-2, 6-0 victory in just 48 minutes.

A rapid start saw the top seed race into a 3-0 lead with only nine minutes on the Centre Court clock. Venina, playing at this stage of a Grand Slam for the first time, did eventually get on the board, but it was merely delaying the inevitable, Williams firing an ace down the T to close out the set in emphatic fashion.

Williams tightened her grip on the contest at the start of the second, wrong-footing her dumbfounded opponent to earn two more break points. Only one was required, Vesnina wilting following another taxing baseline exchange.

And as the finishing line approached there was no let up for Williams, who found an answer to every question posed by the Russian, completing a victory with another flawless service game.

“I’m very happy, you know, I was really focused today because we’ve had a lot of tough matches before. And especially on this surface I knew she could really bring it to me so I was ready,” Williams told the BBC afterwards. “It’s never easy out there, every point you have to fight for.

In the final she will face either sister Venus Williams or her conqueror at this year’s Australian Open, Angelique Kerber.

“It’s weird I can’t believe I’m in the final again. You know I’m 0 for 2 [in Grand Slam finals] this year so I’m determined to get at least one. It would be great [to play Venus] because then we’d be guaranteed to have a Williams on the trophy – that’s the ultimate goal for both of us and obviously I want her to do well, and if not Kerber would be another good match. I played her in Australia. Either way I look forward to it.”

More to follow.

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