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Well, 29 Is Pretty Old: Russian Tennis Gal Elena Dementieva Announces Retirement

Citing the toll of constantly fighting off injuries and perhaps hinting at wanting to start a family, Elena Dementieva announced her retirement from competitive tennis at the ripe old age of 29. Dementieva made the announcement immediately after losing her match to Francesca Schiavone at the WTA Tour Championships earlier today.

Although a major championship just eluded her grasp (she reached the finals in both the French Open and U.S. Open in 2004) , Dementieva rose as high as the number 3-ranked female tennis player in the world, won 16 WTA titles and a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. Via AFP:

“It’s so difficult to say goodbye,” she said, fighting back her emotions.

She explained: “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!”

Oh. She has a boyfriend. I see how it is – I thought with her retirement, she would finally be able to make time for me in her busy, jet-setting life. Oh well, so it goes.

So, as we bid adieu to the lovely and powerful Russian tennis machine, let us celebrate her wonderful career in the most appropriate way possible…poring over the Sportress’ archives for photos of Elena. Enjoy.

Dementieva announces unexpected retirement [AFP]