Ana Ivanovic retires: Tennis community reacts

Sep 3, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Ana Ivanovic (SRB) returns a shot to Victoria Azarenka (BLR) on day nine of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY
Sep 3, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Ana Ivanovic (SRB) returns a shot to Victoria Azarenka (BLR) on day nine of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY /

Ana Ivanovic retired from tennis Wednesday. Tributes flooded in from around the tennis community to celebrate the former French Open champ.

Ana Ivanovic announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 29 on Wednesday. She made the announcement directly to her fans via her Facebook page. She talked about the numerous injuries she had suffered in the past years. Currently ranked No. 65 in the world, she also said she felt her standard of play wasn’t where she had hoped it would be at this point.

The Serbian is retiring after 13 years on the WTA tour. When she first broke out in the mid-2000’s, Ivanovic was one of three Serbian players — the other two being Novak Djokovic and Jelena Yankovic — who made the tennis establishment pay attention to what was going on in tennis in that country. Before Djokovic became the dominant player he is today, Ivanovic was the first of the Serbian tennis triumvirate to achieve the No. 1 ranking, which she did in 2008, her standout year. It was the same year she won her first (and only) grand slam, the French Open, defeating Dinara Safina in straight sets.

Ivanovic lost her top ranking to her fellow Serb Yankovic a few weeks after she achieved it, and fell off her form the following year, most disappointingly losing in the first round of the 2009 US Open, and fell out of the top 20 by the end of that year.

However, the power baseline hitter rallied in the following years, breaking back into the top 20 by 2010 and culminating with a resurgent comeback in 2014, ending back in the top five that year, her second highest ranking since turning pro. In 2014, she started out beating both Williams sisters in Australia: first Venus at Aukland and then No. 1-ranked Serena in a surprising fourth round win at the Australian Open.

The last two years saw a dip in form for the power hitter and she was also plagued by injuries. She was defeated in the first rounds of major tournaments, most disappointingly again at this year’s US Open.

The top player also suffered from confidence issues, which seemed to get worse in recent years. Ivanovic spoke with Grazia magazine earlier this month, “Sometimes you can forget about your ranking, but not about the losses that can be often painful. People think you lost just a match. Only you know that the pain removed your self-confidence.”

Ivanovic got married to Manchester United star Bastian Schweinsteiger in July of this year and was talking back in November about a possible comeback in 2017. After intensive training this month, she made the decision to call it quits and focus on her other endeavors including being a Serbian ambassador for UNICEF.

In her public statement, Ivanovic said she wouldn’t be “disappearing completely from the circuit,” leading some to speculate that she may go into tennis media or the ever-popular post-career option of coaching. According to the Guardian, her 32-year-old husband is also in talks with Chicago Fire about a “possible” move to the MLS club so perhaps the two of them will be relocating to the States soon.

Next: How did the world's tennis stars spend the holidays?

Career Highlights

  1. Achieved No. 1 ranking in 2008
  2. Won the French Open grand slam tournament that same year
  3. Has won 15 WTA titles
  4. Amassed over $15 million in career earnings
  5. Finalist in two more grand slams, the 2007 French Open and the 2008 Australian Open
  6. Won back-to-back WTA Tournament of Champions, 2010-2011
  7. Qualified for the WTA Tour of Championships three times 2007-2008 and 2014
  8. Named “30 Legends of Women’s Tennis: Past, Present, and Future” by Time Magazine
  9. Listed in the Top 100 Greatest Players Ever (male and female) by reporter Matthew Cronin

Following her retirements announcement, several of her peers expressed their well wishes for the popular athlete.