Melanie South Retires From Tennis
Published December 05, 2013 12:00
Just two weeks after the retirement of Elena Baltacha, British tennis is waving goodbye to another long-term servant.
After a nine-year professional career, former British No.2 Melanie South, 27, is walking away from tennis to pursue a career in coaching.
"I feel ready and excited to move onto the next stage of my life," South said. "I've had many great moments in my career and am proud of the highs I have reached."
South, who won six titles on the ITF Circuit and defeated Francesca Schiavone on her Wimbledon debut, enjoyed her best year on tour in 2008 when she made the quarterfinals in Birmingham and climbed to within touching distance of a place in the Top 100.
The following year she made the breakthrough, reaching a career-best ranking of No.99 in February to become just the second British player in the 21st century to break into the Top 100. A regular in the British Fed Cup team, South also enjoyed plenty of success on the doubles court, winning 24 ITF titles and also appearing in the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon mixed doubles alongside Alex Bogdanovic in 2007.
"There are always ups and downs in a player's career and I have been through many of both," she added. "I have suffered a few injuries that have now taken their toll on my body but overall I am proud of how I have dealt with both the highs and lows.
"I would like to thank all of my past coaches, trainers, sponsors and friends at the LTA who have helped me on my tennis journey. A special 'thank you' goes to Lucie Ahl who first started coaching me when I was 17. She is the one person who has always been at the other end of the phone throughout every high and low no matter how big or small they were."
South, who is now based in Bath where she trained at LTA's International High Performance Centre, leaves the British game in good health, with Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Johanna Konta all in and around the Top 100.
"Mel has contributed hugely to British women's tennis throughout her career," Iain Bates, the LTA's Head of Women's Tennis, said. "Breaking the Top 100 in 2009 was a great achievement and one which Mel should be very proud of. We all wish her well in the next phase of her career."