PARIS, France - Last Wednesday, in the shadows of Court Philippe Chatrier, one of French tennis' most loyal servants brought the curtain down on her 11-year career.
A straight set defeat to Yvonne Meusburger in the first round of qualifying proved to be the final act for Séverine Beltrame, who announced after the match that the tournament would be her last as a professional.
"Deciding to retire and then actually having to do it when the moment arrives are two completely different things," a tearful Beltrame said after the match. "I would obviously have liked to get a bit further, and this is a really emotional moment.
"But it had to come to an end someday, so even though it's tough, I've got no regrets."
Born in Montpellier, Beltrame was one of France's celebrated 'generation '79', which also included Amélie Mauresmo, Nathalie Dechy and Émilie Loit. She joined the tour in 2002, achieving a career-high ranking of No.34 and reaching semifinals in Bangkok and Québec City.
Her best performance at a major came in 2006, when she reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals, defeating World No.10 Patty Schnyder, Gisela Dulko and Ai Sugiyama before falling to Justine Henin to two tight sets.Two years later, she also made it through to the fourth round at the US Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams.