ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova retired from professional tennis today after playing her last match in the women’s doubles competition at Roland Garros. Partnering with Dominika Cibulkova, the popular lefthander exited the Grand Slam stage in the first round at the hands of Sofia Kenin and Andrea Petkovic, 6-4, 6-0.
Safarova enjoyed an impressive career that saw her capture seven WTA singles titles and 15 WTA doubles titles, highlighted by five Grand Slam doubles trophies at the Australian Open (2015, 2017), Roland Garros (2015, 2017) and US Open (2016) alongside her longtime friend and doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
On August 21, 2017 the Czech became the 35th player in the history of the WTA to hold the World No.1 doubles ranking, and the fourth from her home country to reach this milestone, staying in the top spot for a total of six weeks.
Safarova said, “Tennis has given me so much – as well as teaching me discipline and hard work, a lot of amazing emotions that you cannot get off the court. That winning feeling at a Grand Slam or the Olympics is so wonderful! I am lucky that I was able to travel the world and fulfill so many dreams playing on the Tour and for my country. I have great memories to cherish and can look back and feel proud of my career, and that makes me happy. It’s very special to say goodbye in Paris, but I’m sure after a certain amount of time I’ll be back and connected in our great sport.”
Safarova reached 17 WTA singles finals, lifting her biggest title at the Qatar Total Open (Doha) in 2015 – the same year she advanced to her maiden Grand Slam singles final at Roland Garros, where she took Serena Williams to three sets, and achieved a career high singles ranking of World No.5 (on September 4, 2015).
Her other singles titles came at Oeiras and Forest Hills in 2005, Gold Coast in 2006, Forest Hills in 2008, Québec City in 2013 and on home soil at Prague in 2016. At the WTA Premier level, in addition to her victory at Doha, she was also twice a finalist at Paris [Indoors] (2007, 2010), Charleston in 2012 and New Haven in 2015.
Safarova competed in Fed Cup over 14 different years – more than any of her countrywomen – and was three times a member of final-winning squads, in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
“Lucie is a true champion of the sport, both on and off the court,” said Steve Simon, WTA CEO and Chairman. “As a person who leads by example, she served as member of the WTA Players’ Council for 10 years with an unwavering commitment and focus on increasing the opportunities for both players and tournaments on the WTA Tour. Lucie will be missed and we know the WTA staff, her peers and tennis fans from around the world all wish her great success and happiness as she begins the next chapter in her life.”
For her service on the WTA Players’ Council, Safarova has been recognized by her fellow players, earning the votes for the Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award four consecutive years from 2014-2017.
In April, Safarova advanced to the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix partnering with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and in May she played in front of her home crowd for the last time at the J&T Banka Prague Open, where she was celebrated with a farewell ceremony to honor her career.
“Lucie has carried herself with tremendous grace and humility throughout her career and been a wonderful ambassador for tennis and for the Czech Republic,” said Czech-born WTA Legend Martina Navratilova. “For me, an important part of her legacy is her commitment to playing both singles and doubles, something she did with great skill and success. I have also admired her dedication to representing her country. As a role model, she set a fantastic example and I will miss watching her compete.”
In Navratilova's latest column for wtatennis.com, the WTA Legend also wrote: "It's possible to be a sweet person and still succeed in this gladiatorial sport of ours. Just look at Lucie Safarova."