Tathiana Garbin: Past, Present & Future
Published February 18, 2011 12:00
BOLOGNA, Italy - It has now been almost a month since Tathiana Garbin retired at the Australian Open - but how will the tennis world remember the Italian, and how will the Italian remember the tennis world?
Garbin turned pro in 1996 and played her first Grand Slam three years later at the 1999 Australian Open; she wouldn't play the other three Grand Slams that year but beginning with the 2000 Australian Open she played 44 straight until the end of 2010, amazingly finishing in the Top 100 every one of those 11 years.
During those 11 years she amassed a number of successes on the WTA: one singles title and 11 doubles titles, as well as two Top 10 wins (one over Monica Seles and one over Justine Henin, the one over Henin making her the first Italian ever to beat a reigning No.1). She was Top 25 in singles (peaking at No.22 on May 21, 2007, just before her 30th birthday) and in doubles (peaking at No.25). Those were just some of her many, many achievements.
"Playing the Olympics in Sydney and Athens was so emotional, as was whenever I played for my country in Fed Cup," Garbin, now 33, said. "When I beat Monica Seles at Indian Wells and Justine Henin at Roland Garros, I was so happy - just like when I got my best ranking, No.22. It was all great."
After a first round defeat to Marion Bartoli at the Australian Open in January 2011, Garbin called it a career. "I decided to stop in Australia, where my tennis career began 12 years ago. It was time for me to stop because I couldn't play like I want, on a high level. If you are not really fit you cannot be competitive. I never wanted to wait until my ranking dropped. I always wanted to leave this sport with pride. Tennis has been such a big part of my life and always will be.
"I would like to say thank you to my federation, the WTA, my sponsor, my coaches, my doctor... without all of you I would never have done what I did.
"In the future, I will work for the Italian Federation. I will help young athletes. I will also try to transfer my passion for the sport and work for tennis on TV too."