Former World No.1 and three-time Grand Slam finalist Dinara Safina officialy retired while in Madrid last week. Many of the Russian's legions of fans wrote in to wtatennis.com with their favorite memories of her. Here is a collection of those comments:
Dinara becoming No.1 and joining her brother in this historic brother-sister first accomplishment was really very special. Dinara's rise to No.1 was also nice because it came after years of developing her elite-level game seemingly in the shadow, at first, of her brother. When she grabbed her time in the spotlight, at the top of the WTA rankings, it was a childhood dream realized. Dreams realized, No.1 at anything in life, are great moments for fans of any endeavor - sport or otherwise - to admire.
- John, Blacksburg, VA
My favorite Dinara moment was in 2008 in Berlin when she won over Justine Henin. It was a big fight and one of the most important victories of her career.
My favorite Dinara moment was when she when she reached her first French Open final. Even though she went on to lose, she showed the true spirit of a champion. Not wanting to be known just as Marat's little sister, she worked hard to make a name for herself. She is and always will be my favorite player on the WTA. Good luck Dinara. We will miss you.
In my honest and simple opinion, she showed to the world that even if you don't have the most talent or strongest body, but if you believe in something, if you work hard and give all of your best efforts to achieve it, you will! I will remember her sweet smile when she would win and her brave spirit. Dinara was so happy when she won Madrid and she could see herself in the plate of champions. All the best for you, Dinara, and now my heart belongs to Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, the last great Russian champions. If Zvonareva and Petrova could return, they will be in my heart also.
- Vinícius, São Paulo, Brazil
My favorite Dinara moment is when she was runner-up at the 2008 French Open, and 2009 Australian and French Opens. I always enjoyed watching her matches. We will miss you, Dinara.
My favorite moment of Dinara is the Beijing Olympic final in 2008. She lost to Dementieva, yet was a proud part of the all gold, silver and bronze medals by the Russians.
- Kei, Tokyo, Japan
So tough to say. What an incredible player she's been, but it has to be:
1. Beating Maria Sharapova, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 in Paris in 2006: Sharapova has such a great record against fellow Russians and Dinara had an awesome comeback in this match.
2. Beating Maria Sharapova, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 in Paris in 2008
3. Winning Berlin in 2008, beating Dementieva, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2: Great to see her winning such a prestigious event and biggest title of her career thus far. She'll be missed.
My favorite moment was the defeat of Sharapova at the French Open in 2008. I think it was the match that showed her determination and instinct that only World No.1s have. Have a happy retirement.
- Will, England