Long-time WTA Tour player Daniela Hantuchova has retired from professional tennis. The 34-year-old Slovak, who played her first tournament in 1999, made the announcement Thursday on her Instagram account.
"I want to tell you with all my appreciation and happiness inside of me, that the time has come to retire from professional tennis," Hantuchova wrote. "Being part of the WTA, ITF, the Slovak Fed Cup and Olympic team has been the biggest blessing and privilege."
Hantuchova's best result came in the 2008 Australian Open, where she lost to Serbian Ana Ivanovic, who herself retired last December. She reached a career high of No 5 in the rankings and won seven titles, the last in 2015. She was an Australian Open semi-finalist in 2008 and also reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.
She also had a flourishing doubles career having completed the career Grand Slam in mixed doubles in 2005.
She continued to be a formidable opponent until 2013 where she made the US Open quarter-final.
Due to injuries and inconsistencies, Hantuchova primarily competed on the ITF circuit in the last few years. In May this year, she suffered a rib injury at Madrid Open which made her reconsider her career.
Though her career earned her more than $10 million, her bids for the top prizes in tennis were typically halted by Serena and Venus Williams as the sisters dominated the sport.
But Hantuchova relished duelling with the best.
"They were always pushing me, especially Serena, to find a way how I can always improve," she said.
"After Madrid, after I had a stress fracture in my rib I couldn't do anything for months,"Hantuchova said in an interview with WTA.
"Those are the times you start to think about everything. I started to be focused on my own business and it's been going so well and I started spending all my time doing that, suddenly there was one day that I realized I didn't go to practice, I didn't go to the gym and I actually enjoyed that. I tried to ignore it, but for two weeks I tried to think about it a little more. Suddenly I just realized it was time for a new chapter in life," she said.
Naturally gifted with timing and aided by a potent forehand and backhand, she was known for her solid baseline game and clean groundstrokes.
Hantuchova is currently on the Wimbledon commentary panel for Fox Sports Asia. Her future plans include getting married and having a family, growing her protein bars business and continuing her nascent television tennis punditry career.
"As far as work goes, I'm really open to anything," she said, though there is "zero chance" of her going into coaching.
But she emphasises she still loves the game, which has been her life and in her "DNA since she was five years old."
"I'm not leaving the sport. I'm just leaving the part where I'm traveling 10 months in the year and competing and traveling with my tennis bag on my shoulder at every single airport," she said. "Tennis has been the biggest love of my life so far. I hope the next one will be the real one, in a different way. It's been everything. It's in my DNA and it always will be."
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jul 07, 2017 20:34:12 IST