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5 of the Most Shocking Retirements in Tennis



Maria Sharapova recently announces her retirement from tennis. And she made it clear: she’s retiring, not quitting.

Tennis fans and even sceptics quite expect this retirement announcement.

These five names, however, took the tennis world by surprise with their shocking – almost controversial – way of announcing retirement and the reasons behind them.

#5 – Steffi Graf

No one suspected that she would be announcing her retirement in August 1999. She was still in her career prime. She was only 30 years old and ranked No. 3 then. 

 Thus, Graf’s tennis journey is a story of what could have been if she chose to continue playing. She left the game as the greatest women’s player during her time.

A perfectionist she was on the court, Graf explained that she has already accomplished everything in tennis. While she was battling injuries, then, the tennis player also said that she was “no longer having fun.”

A young, vibrant Martina Hingis was also on the rise, doing everything she can to overcome challenges along the way, including Graf. And, the stabbing incident between her fan and Monica Seles also contributed to her sentiment.

#4 – Marion Bartoli

Bartoli was also progressing mightily when suddenly announced her retirement following a Wimbledon win in 2013. She reached a career-high at No. 7.

For her, her body was no longer cooperating with injuries that made continuing difficult. Bartoli said, “I really felt I gave all the energy I have left in my body, …but now my body just can’t cope with everything.”

Bartoli was 28 when she retired.

#3 – Martina Hingis

Hingis was a force to reckon with in women’s tennis but still chose to retire at only 22 years old. 

She struggled with injuries. Although in a BBC report, Hingis mentioned that she could not be “content with less” after being four years at No. 1 ranking. 

Hingis was suffering from ankle injuries. Part of her retirement was, nevertheless, because of the rise of equally competitive tennis players.

She had a comeback in 2006 but retired the next year again after testing positive for cocaine. She faced a two-year ban, though, Hingis maintained she was innocent.

#2 – Justine Henin

Henin retired from playing tennis when she was still ranked No. 1 in May 2008. She was only 25 years old. She even requested her name’s removal from the ranking immediately.

She said that she felt no sadness in leaving tennis behind, believing that she already gave her all for twenty years. She focused on her tennis school and charity works.

Like Hingis, she staged a comeback in 2010 but failed to recapture her fame and glory before her first retirement.

#1 – Bjorn Borg

Borg is the tennis superstar that fans never wanted to see retiring, but he did. The years 1982 to 1984 were chaotic. He announced his retirement in January 1983 at only 26 years old. Even John McEnroe persuaded him to continue playing but was unsuccessful.

He was known for his magnificent tennis playing style as well as his commercial appeal—such a waste of talent for undeniably the greatest player in tennis history.

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