May 23, 2024

Open Court

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Agnieszka Radwanska retires at 29

It was not a surprise announcement, given recent comments by Agnieszka Radwanska concerning her inability to get healthy enough to compete.

But on Wednesday, it became official: the former world No. 2 retires, at age 29.

Here’s part of the text of her announcement, via Twitter.

My Dear Friends,

I’d like to share with you one of the most important decisions of my life. Today, after 13 years of playing tennis competitively, I have decided to end my career. This was not an easy decision.

Unfortunately, I am no longer able to train and play the way I used to, and recently my body can’t live up to my expectations. Taking into consideration my health and the heavy burdens of professional tennis, I have to concede that I’m not able to push my body to the limits required.

No. 2 in singles

Radwanska reached a career high of No. 2 in singles after reaching the Wimbledon final in 2012.

It was her only Grand Slam final although she reached the semifinals there twice more in subsequent years, as well as two Australian Open semifinals.

Radwanska also reached No. 16 in doubles back in 2011.

Out of 28 career finals, and won 20 – a great ratio. Radwanska also won two doubles titles – one of them with her sister Urszula.

She also represented Poland in three Olympics.

Ninja style

One reason Radwanska stood out, and was extremely popular with diehard tennis fans, was because her style was so unique.

Unable to keep up physically with the power hitters, she developed a style of her own. It was an improvisational, crafty style that offered up a rare contrast to the status quo and was highly entertaining to watch.

In recent years, though, she had significant challenges staying healthy.

Radwanska’s best result in 2017 was a final at the Sydney event, the week before the Australian Open. But she lost in the second round in Melbourne to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. 

Radwanska
Radwanska on Court Suzanne Lenglen during her 2nd-round win over Alison Van Uytvanck in 2007. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

In 2018, she started decently. But after retiring in her first match at a small event in Istanbul to start the clay-court season, she skipped the entire European swing.

She returned at Eastbourne, the week before Wimbledon, and reached the semifinals. But she failed to win a match during the North American hard-court summer and called an end to the season in Seoul in mid-September.

It turns out, she also called an end to her career.

Sister Urszula still hanging in

Agnieszka Radwanska was the No. 1 junior in the world in late June, 2006.

Notably, she defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the French Open junior final, and teamed up with Caroline Wozniacki to reach the junior doubles final. They were beaten by Pavlychenkova and Canadian Sharon Fichman.

She won the Wimbledon juniors in 2005, beating Tamira Paszek in the final.

He sister Urszula, 21 months younger, reached No. 1 in the juniors a little over a year later.

Urszula (Ula to Agnieszka’s Aga) won the junior singles and doubles at Wimbledon in 2006, She also won the US Open junior doubles and reached the singles final.

With sisters winning back-to-back Wimbledon junior titles, you’d think tennis was in for a family juggernaut for years to come.

But it didn’t work out that way.

Radwanska
The kinesio-tape twins take a break on the practice court at the Rogers Cup.

The younger Radwanska has suffered even more with injuries. She broke into the top 30 back in 2012. But shoulder surgery the following year set her back. She rallied well from that, but has been beset by other physical issues even though, on the surface, she was sturdier than her sister.

Urszula Radwanska was in the top 100 at some point during every season between 2009 and 2016. But an injury always seemed to come around and cost her a few months. She has played a reasonably full schedule since Aug. 2017, and has managed to raise her ranking some 400 spots from No. 722, where it stood after the 2017 US Open.

Still just 27, she’s currently at No. 329.

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