Monica Seles retires from tennis

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Nine-time Grand Slam winner Monica Seles announced her retirement from competitive tennis on Thursday.

Updated: February 17, 2008 12:45 IST
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Nine-time Grand Slam winner Monica Seles announced her retirement from competitive tennis on Thursday.

The announcement ends one of the most glorious careers in the sport as the 34-year-old won 53 singles titles and six doubles tournaments.

"Tennis has been and will always be a huge part of my life," Seles said. "I have for some time considered a return to professional play, but I have now decided not to pursue that."

She first became No 1 in the world in March 1991 and held the top ranking for 178 weeks over the next two years.

Seles was born in the former Yugoslavia and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1994.

Tragedy struck Seles in April 1993, when she was stabbed in the back during a match in Hamburg, Germany. She was not able to play again for more than two years.

When she did return, she posted a dynamic comeback win at the Canadian Open, then reached the US Open final the following month.

She then won her ninth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January 1996.

In the spring of 2003, Seles sustained a foot injury that sidelined her from the WTA tour.

"Monica Seles is one of the great champions in the history of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, and an inspiration and role model for millions of fans throughout the world," WTA Tour chief executive Larry Scott said.

"No one will ever forget the fierce determination and will to win that Monica brought to the court, nor the caring and warm person that she has always been off the court."

In December, Seles said that Lindsay Davenport's successful return to the tour after pregnancy inspired her to consider her own limited comeback to play Grand Slam tournaments and the major warm-up events for those tournaments.

"I will continue to play exhibitions, participate in charity events, promote the sport, but will no longer plan my schedule around the tour," Seles said. "I look forward to pursuing other opportunities with the same passion and energy that fueled my dedication to tennis and to devote more time to two of my passions - children and animals.

"I especially want to thank all my wonderful, loyal fans for all of their support for me over the years.

"They have inspired me throughout my career in the good times and comforted me in the bad times.

"I will miss them all as much as I will miss competing in the game of tennis."

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