Tuesday 23 April 2019

Bartoli announces comeback after five years out


The 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
The 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Simon Briggs

The former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli is to return to the tour in March next year, almost five years after quitting tennis because of persistent injuries.

Bartoli has spent recent seasons commentating, while playing the occasional legends match when time allows. But she is still only 33, and, as the Williams sisters have proved, age is no barrier to achievement in this sport.

"I am coming back this year on the professional tour," Bartoli announced in a video on Instagram. "It's going to be a huge challenge. I have still a lot of practice ahead, but I am hoping to be ready for March and the Miami Open."

Bartoli's career was a story of delayed gratification. She came within one match of winning Wimbledon in 2007, when Venus Williams overcame her in the final, and had to wait six years for another shot. But when it came, she was ruthless in her dismissal of Sabine Lisicki, the big-serving German.

Rather than building on that triumph, Bartoli announced only a few weeks later that her career was over. "My body just can't cope with everything," she said.

"I have pain everywhere 45 minutes after play."

Since retiring, Bartoli has remained a high-profile figure, mainly through her media work, but also because of the illness that caused her to lose weight dramatically in 2016.

In an interview on 'This Morning', she said she had contracted a mystery virus during a trip to India. As a result, she suffered allergic reactions - set off by "anything from food to electrical items" - and her health declined so dramatically that her hair started falling out in clumps.

According to the interview, doctors told her that she was "on the brink of dying".

In recent months, however, Bartoli has made a strong recovery, to the point where she feels a comeback is feasible. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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