Tennis

Former Wimbledon champ Bartoli to make comeback

Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli announced her professional comeback after a four-year absence in a video posted on her Instagram account on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old retired immediately after winning the 2013 Wimbledon title, fulfilling a lifelong ambition.

"It's going to be a huge challenge, I still have a lot of practice ahead of me," she said.

"I'm really looking forward to being on the court again... Especially in Paris at Roland Garros in my home country, but also for the Fed Cup and Wimbledon."

The Frenchwoman added that she was aiming to return at the Miami Open hard-court tournament in March.

She has won eight WTA Tour titles and reached a career-high ranking of seventh in 2012, before carving out a successful career as a television pundit after retiring.

In 2016, Bartoli suffered from a mystery virus that saw her lose 20kg.

She said that she feared for her health after pulling out of an exhibition event at the All England Club ahead of Wimbledon that year.

But a month later, she said she was "on the road to recovery", after struggling with an illness that medical experts said was so rare they had no name for.

Bartoli was the last French player to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, and is the only one to have lifted a Major title since Amelie Mauresmo won Wimbledon in 2006.

Her comeback is reminiscent of those made by the likes of Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, and Swiss former world No. 1 Martina Hingis.

Unlike the trio, Bartoli was never a constant at the top of the world rankings, instead quitting the game after winning her only Grand Slam crown. - AFP

Tennis