Novak Djokovic is the perfect person in the perfect place to make the perfect apology – for his own sake.
Like many tennis fans around the world, I was shocked when Marion Bartoli announced her sudden decision to retire from the sport, just six weeks after winning the most prestigious title that the sport has to offer.
There’s no denying that she will be most remembered for her performance at Wimbledon last month, when she coasted through an upset and injury-ravaged draw to claim what will now be remembered as her only Grand Slam title.
Bartoli won last month’s title at the All-England Club by thrashing Germany’s Sabine Lisicki in the final and ending a 20-month title spell which had lasted since October 2011.
But there are some other moments for which she will be remembered, and they range from winning the 2001 US Open as a junior to her two other famous victories at Wimbledon – over Justine Henin and Serena Williams in 2007 and 2011 respectively.
Let’s now take a look back at a career which, until last month’s Wimbledon title, never really reached any real heights.
Turned professional: February 2000
WTA titles: Eight (one Grand Slam)
Best Grand Slam results
Australian Open: Quarter-finals (2009)
French Open: Semi-finals (2011)
Wimbledon: Champion (2013)
US Open: Quarter-finals (2012)
– Made her Grand Slam debut at the French Open as a wildcard entrant, losing in the first round to Catalina Castano.
– Won the US Open girls’ title, defeating another future Grand Slam champion in Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final.
– Qualified for the US Open, where she defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the first round for her first Top 100 victory, before being heavily defeated by Lindsay Davenport in the third round.
– Reached the quarter-finals of the Miami Masters after defeating an injured Davenport in the fourth round, before losing to world number one Serena Williams.
– Won her first Grand Slam match at her national Championships, before losing to Jennifer Capriati in the second round.
– Lost to Daniela Hantuchova at back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments, at Wimbledon and the US Open.
– Reached her first WTA Tour semi-final in Auckland, before losing at the Australian Open to eventual semi-finalist Patty Schnyder in the second round.
– Made her Fed Cup debut for France at the back end of 2004, but featured in the team which lost to Russia in the final.
– Was seeded 27th at her native Grand Slam, the French Open (also the first time she had been seeded at a Grand Slam), but lost to Shahar Peer in the first round.
– Won her first WTA career title at the age of 21, defeating Vera Zvonareva in the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
– Won the Bell Challenge at Quebec City, double-bagelling Olga Puchkova in the final.
– Lost to future rival Victoria Azarenka in the second round of the Australian Open, after losing the first set 6-0.
– Reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time, at the French Open, losing to Jelena Jankovic.
– Reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon, extracting revenge on Jankovic in the fourth round. Eventually proceeds to her first Grand Slam final, causing a boilover in the semi-finals where she upset world number one Justine Henin after losing the first set 6-1. Loses to Venus Williams in the final.
– Reaches the fourth round of the US Open, losing to Serena Williams.
– Cracks the Top 10 for the first time in her career.
– Qualifies for the year-end WTA Tour Championships as a reserve, and replaced Serena for two matches, one of which she would lose to Henin without winning a game.
– Loses in the first round of back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments, including at the French Open where she lost to Casey Dellacqua after the match was interrupted with Bartoli leading comfortably.
– After more than 12 months without reaching a final, she does so at Stanford, but loses to Aleksandra Wozniak in the championship match.
– Six years after being thrashed by Lindsay Davenport at her first US Open, Bartoli turns the tables and defeats her in what would be Davenport’s last ever US Open.
– Reaches the final of the inaugural Brisbane International, but is defeated in straight sets by Victoria Azarenka, who won her first career title.
– Reaches the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, thrashing world number one Jelena Jankovic en route before being thrashed herself by Vera Zvonareva in the final eight.
– Defeats Venus Williams to win the Stanford title in July.
– Loses to comeback player, and eventual champion, Kim Clijsters, in the second round of the US Open.
– Reaches the final of the alternate year-end championships in Bali, but has to retire against Aravane Rezai due to injury.
– Defeats world number one Svetlana Kuznetsova at Miami, before losing to Venus Williams in the semi-finals.
– Reaches the fourth round at Wimbledon, losing to eventual semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova.
– Reaches the final at Indian Wells, taking out former champions Kim Clijsters and Ana Ivanovic before being defeated by world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the championship match.
– Reaches the semi-finals of her native Grand Slam championships, the French Open, for the only time before losing to defending champion Francesca Schiavone.
– Defeats two-time defending champion Serena Williams at Wimbledon en route to reaching the quarter-finals, where she lost in three sets to Sabine Lisicki. The defeat of Williams sent the American crashing from 25 to 175 in the world rankings.
– Loses to Williams in the final in Stanford.
– Defeats Samantha Stosur to win the HP Open in Osaka.
– Qualifies for the WTA Tour Championships as an alternate, and after replacing Maria Sharapova, defeats Victoria Azarenka, who was already assured of progressing to the semi-finals.
– Participates at the other year-end championships in Bali, thus making her the first (and so far only) woman to compete at both year-end championships.
– Records her best year on and off court, winning almost 60 matches, winning two titles and earning over $1.7 million in prize money.
– Represents France in the Hopman Cup for the first time. The nation reaches the final, but loses to the Czech Republic pairing of Tomas Berdych and Petra Kvitova.
– Reaches a career high world ranking of No. 7 following the Australian Open.
– Defeats world number one Victoria Azarenka in the quarter-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open, ending the Belarusian’s 26-match winning streak to start the year. She is then defeated by eventual champion Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals, her seventh straight loss against her from seven matches.
– Ends her association with her father as coach, and chooses to skip the London Olympics.
– Reaches the quarter-finals of the US Open after defeating Petra Kvitova in the fourth round (after losing the first set 6-1). She loses to Maria Sharapova after winning the first set in a rain-interrupted quarter-final.
– Qualifies for the year-end WTA Tour Championships as an alternate, but is not given a chance to play even though defending champion Petra Kvitova withdrew due to illness.
– Suffers a poor start to the season, reaching no semi-finals up to and including Eastbourne and not recording any top ten victories over the year. Her season record prior to Wimbledon was 14-12.
– Hires Amelie Mauresmo as part-time coach after a partnership with Jana Novotna falls through following the early hard-court season.
– Reaches her first semi-final (and final) of the year at Wimbledon, where she would eventually win the title by defeating Sabine Lisicki in the championship match. Bartoli would not lose any sets or defeat a single top ten opponent en route to the title.
– Her Wimbledon title was achieved at her 46th Grand Slam tournament, ending the longest wait for a title at this level. Novotna previously held the record with 45.
– Retires from professional tennis following a second round loss to Simona Halep at Cincinnati. Cites injuries and burnout as the reasons for her sudden retirement.
– Will miss her first Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon in 2002.
How will you remember Marion Bartoli? Leave your comments below.
Meanwhile, what was a terrible day for French tennis just got worse, with confirmation that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will miss the US Open due to a knee injury which has failed to heal since he aggregated the injury on Black Wednesday at Wimbledon.