Over the course of a career spanning 13 season and 847 matches, Elena has qualified for the year end finals 10 times in 11 years. As Elena made the announcement court side to fans, after a season which was marred by a nagging calf injury, Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka looked on, in tears, as Dementieva struggled to keep it together as she thanked her mother for support.
“It is so emotional and it’s so hard to say goodbye. I am going to miss you so much. I would like to thank all the people around the world for supporting me. My mom was very supportive and inspiring. She was always there for me. It is emotional for her as well. I love you mom… Well, right now I feel like it’s the end of the world, because I really like to play. It’s going to be completely different life for me. Tennis has been such a big part of my life, and always will be. To be honest with you, I mean, if I would be a man I would never stop playing. But in the age 29, I have to think about something else. I think I’m ready for the big change in my life.”
Dementieva plans to continue the studies she started last year at Moscow University and hinted at her desire to start a family.
Her retirement is another blow to the WTA. While Elena struggled with her serve she was one of the more consistent players on the tour.
“When I talked to my family about this decision I was ready for them to support me, but they were very surprised. They said you can play a couple of years and win many tournaments – but if you feel this way you have to make this decision. I think no-one was really happy about it except my boy-friend!”