Katarina Srebotnik ends tennis career
Portorož – Katarina Srebotnik, one of Slovenia’s best women tennis players, officially wrapped up her career at the seaside town of Portorož on Sunday having chalked up six Grand Slam doubles titles and four singles tournaments. In her career high she ranked 20th on the WTA rankings twice.
“I avoided saying goodbye for a long time, but I realised that this is inevitable for any athlete. I had a lot of good moments but also tough ones. I’d say today is one of the hardest,” the 41-year-old said at the press conference before attending the farewell ceremony in the main court in Portorož.
Srebotnik, who hails from Velenje, has adored tennis since the age of 7. She started her professional career in 1999. But the last few years were hard.
“My last official match was two years ago at Roland Garros. It was a turning point, because I knew deep down that if I didn’t get a big result there, my time to say goodbye was coming. Maybe that put more pressure to it,” said the 16-time doubles grand slam finalist.
She needed a few good showings at smaller tournaments to turn things around. She had hoped to do so, but then, before she left for Australia, her plans were disrupted by Covid-19, which left her body “not the same”.
“From that moment, everything went downhill. I’d hoped until the last moment for a comeback, but I didn’t make it. Deep down, I knew this was it. However, I took time to come to terms with the decision. So there would be no regrets,” said Srebotnik, who won 1,131 matches, 377 of them in singles.
In a career high she defeated Serena Williams of the US at Roland Garros in 2008. She also made it among the top 20 on the WTA rankings in 2006 and 2008.
“Beating Serena at her peak, at her best, and at a Grand Slam, gave the achievement an extra value. It’s a pity that then the injuries started that year, when I practically didn’t hold a racket for ten months. Then I tried to come back, but it was no use. Then I decided it was time for doubles and I’m not complaining about that. I gave doubles the priority and managed to get to number one,” Srebotnik said.
“To be the would’s number one in doubles is something truly remarkable. It has been an honour to share part of my life with Katarina’s successes,” said Mima Jaušovec, the 1977 Roland Garros winner, who coached Srebotnik through a large part of her career.
Srebotnik does not know yet what she will do next. “Let me get over this day, you can ask me about my future later. I haven’t worked it out yet, but I’m certainly not going to disappear off the face of the Earth,” said Srebotnik.
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