Santangelo Says Goodbye
Published February 04, 2011 12:00
MILAN, Italy - A few years ago she was a fixture in the upper echelon of both singles and doubles, but after struggles with foot injuries, Italy's Mara Santangelo has decided to retire from her professional tennis career.
Although she was successful in both disciplines, Santangelo was perhaps best known for her doubles results, winning nine WTA titles - including one Grand Slam title with Alicia Molik, the French Open in 2007. She spent 48 weeks in the doubles Top 10 between June 2007 and May 2008 (peaking at No.5).
Santangelo's singles career was highlighted by one WTA title, Bangalore in 2006, and one more WTA final, at the very same event in 2007 (finishing runner-up to Yaroslava Shvedova). She had two Top 10 wins (one over Jelena Jankovic, one over Nadia Petrova) and made it as high as No.27 herself.
The Italian missed eight months from September 2007 to May 2008 due to a left foot injury; she had some strong results after that, including winning her last three WTA doubles titles, but since Wimbledon in 2009 - which would turn out to be her last WTA event - she only played one tournament, on the ITF Circuit. She announced her retirement in Milan on Friday, January 28, 2011.
"Unfortunately, for my whole career, my foot was hurting me. I was born with a deformity and from a young age doctors told me I wouldn't be able to play tennis at a high level. The fact I succeeded and realized my dream is fantastic.
"I tried to start playing tennis again after some operations, but since I was still feeling pain, I've decided to stop. I have so many wonderful memories from tennis: my title in Bangalore, victory in Fed Cup and Roland Garros... I am happy to have left my mark on this fantastic sport and to have made some wonderful friendships, which continue outside of tennis.
"Now my future is full of big projects. I have a restaurant in Porto Cervo and I am working for the Italian Federation's TV channel. Sport has taught me so much and I'm sure these lessons will help me even outside the tennis court."
Santangelo is managing Prince Le Restaurant, a new and trendy eatery located in Porto Cervo, on Sardegna Island in Italy. It opened last summer and is part of Piazza Principe, a commercial complex owned by the Santangelos and managed by Mara herself. For more information on the restaurant, visit its official website at www.piazzadelprincipeportocervo.com/eng/lerestaurant.asp.