Bartoli's Sentimental Wimbledon Return
Published June 29, 2014 12:12
Since bidding an emotional farewell to tennis last summer, Bartoli has been spotted hanging out with Usain Bolt in Jamaica, watching the Super Bowl in New Jersey and been a ubiquitous presence during the big dates on the tennis calendar.
Commentary duties for the BBC are keeping the Frenchwoman busy on her return to the All-England Club - a venue that, even as a spectator, continues to stir emotions.
"It feels different, of course, but it feels great actually coming back still as the defending champion," Bartoli said. "I really enjoyed those two weeks. I knew when I announced my retirement last year, I would not be able to defend my title this year.
"It's still an amazing moment to come back and have all those flashbacks from last year, all those pictures around, and having my name engraved on the champion's board - it's just absolutely amazing. I feel extremely honored and quite proud, to be honest. It is very emotional, for sure."
Despite not getting the chance to defend her title, Bartoli harbors no regrets about her decision to walk away from tennis just 40 days after her greatest triumph.
"Literally, I can't even lift my arm every morning. It was the same last year, and it hasn't improved since, even without playing much tennis," Bartoli said about the wear and tear that prompted her retirement. "So definitely no regrets at all.
"I totally moved on into something different. I just launched my shoe line three weeks ago, during the French Open. I'm designing jewelry, too. So many things going on in my life right now, but just extremely honored to still be the 2013 Wimbledon champion and reigning champion - even if it's just for two more weeks!"
In fact, the 29-year-old has been in the public eye so much of late that in the build-up to the French Open some 'fans' were unaware she had hung up the racquets at all.
"Nothing is completely different. The only thing is I'm not taking my racquet and going on court," Bartoli said. "It was very funny, because people in France kind of don't know that I retired. They are like, 'Good luck for the French.' I'm like, 'I don't think I'm going to play this year.'
"It's the same here at Wimbledon. I was in the Village this morning. 'So how do you feel? 'Do you feel it's going to be hard to defend your title? 'Uhm, not really, because I'm not going to defend it.'
"You know, everything's the same. The only difference is I don't have to ask for the schedule the next day!"