Elena Dementieva Retires From Tennis
"It's so emotional," Dementieva, 29, told the crowd after Francesca Schiavone defeated her 6-4, 6-2 in her last round-robin match at the year-end WTA Championships in Doha, Qatar. "It's so hard to say goodbye to all of you. I'm going to miss you so much."
Dementieva finishes her career with 16 WTA titles after 12 years on the tour. She entered the top 20 in September 2000 and remained ranked inside the position for 524 weeks of the last 529, including this week.
Although Dementieva ends her career without a Grand Slam, one of her greatest accolades came at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where she won the gold medal in singles, defeating Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams, Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina in an incredible run.
It is a bittersweet ending for Dementieva. Injuries plagued the Russian all season long, as she was forced to retire in the middle of her semifinal match at Roland Garros with a calf injury that later kept her sidelined from Wimbledon.
"This year in Doha was very special for me because it was my last tournament," Dementieva added. "I'd like to thank all the people from the WTA -- it was so nice to get to know all of you and work with you for so many years. I'm going to miss you so much. Thanks to all the players for the amazing experiences, all the years I spent on the court with you. And thanks for all the people around the world for supporting me, and my fan club, I could feel your support no matter where I was in the world. Thank you for your devotion.
"Most importantly, thanks to my family, especially my mom. You've been very supportive, encouraging, inspiring ... you were always there for me. It was a long way and we did it together. I love you mom."
Dementieva also won six doubles titles, including the WTA Championships in 2002.
She was a runner-up in singles at the 2004 French Open and 2004 U.S. Open.