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Former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo retires at 30

Amelie Mauresmo
Mauresmo made the announcement at a press conference in Paris

Former world number one Amelie Mauresmo has announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 30.

The 2006 Wimbledon and Australian Open champion won the Paris Indoor Open in February but has not played since September's US Open.

"I don't want to train any more. As you grew older, it's more difficult to stay at the top," said a tearful Mauresmo.

The Frenchwoman missed the last two tournaments of the season and ended the year ranked 21st in the world.

"I had to make a decision, which became evident in the last few months and weeks," added Mauresmo.

"It's a bit sad, but this is the right decision. I was lucky enough to have an exceptional career and to experience very strong feelings on the court."

Mauresmo turned professional in 1993 and won 25 WTA tour titles in her career, really coming to prominence in 1999 when she reached the final of the Australian Open and the last four of the US Open.

She had earned a reputation as a talented player who was unable to take the final step to winning a prestigious Grand Slam title, but finally ended her long wait with victory at the 2006 Australian Open.

Julian S

Her victory was slightly devalued by the fact that her opponents in both the semi-final and final - Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin - had to retire through injury or illness.

But she answered her critics by taking a second Grand Slam title later in the year, beating Henin 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the Wimbledon final.

In 2005 she won the Masters end-of-season event but after her second-round loss to Aleksandra Wozniak at this year's US Open, Mauresmo admitted she was struggling to keep motivated to play at the top level.

"It became very hard in build-up to the US Open," said Mauresmo, who won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

"If I were able to enter the court, play and shine, of course I could continue, but to achieve this you need to put in such hard work. And I'm not capable of that.

"I dreamt of this career, I dreamt of winning a Grand Slam title. I lifted trophies in every city in the world and I had 10 magical and unbelievable years."

WTA Tour chairman Stacey Allaster paid tribute to Mauresmo, calling her "one of the best players of her generation".

"Amelie is an extraordinary player, one of the nicest and friendliest personalities on Tour, and a true champion both in tennis and in life," she added.

Former world number one Justin Henin will begin her second career on Saturday in an exhibition event in Charleroi, 18 months after retiring from the women's circuit.

The Belgian, 27, retired on the eve of the 2008 French Open, a tournament she had won four times along with two US crowns and one Australian Open.

But in September she announced she was on the comeback trail, saying she had rediscovered her appetite for competition.

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see also
Mauresmo considering retirement
08 Oct 09 |  Tennis
Mauresmo clinches Wimbledon title
08 Jul 06 |  Tennis
Mauresmo delight at 'special' win
08 Jul 06 |  Tennis
Henin illness hands Mauresmo win
28 Jan 06 |  Tennis
Slam title win delights Mauresmo
28 Jan 06 |  Tennis

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