Former WTA Doubles World No.1 Katarina Srebotnik was feted on home soil as she said farewell to an outstanding Hologic WTA Tour career.
Srebotnik, 41, was part of an emotional retirement ceremony during championship Sunday at the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz in her home country of Slovenia.
Srebotnik received video congratulations from many stars during the ceremony, including WTA Legends Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles, along with her frequent doubles partners Kveta Peschke and Ai Sugiyama. She also received a framed collage commemorating her numerous career highlights.
After the ceremony, Srebotnik responded:
"Many thanks to the tournament organizers for such a beautiful ceremony.
"In my career I experienced many beautiful and some less pleasant moments, and today's farewell day is definitely one of the most difficult ones. Although I knew that this moment is inevitable for every athlete, it took me quite some time to accept it deep inside. This decision was difficult for me mainly because tennis has been my great passion since the age of 7, and because it has given me so many extraordinary and unforgettable moments, which I will cherish forever. I can proudly say that even at the age of 41, my feelings remain the same. This is also the main reason why I competed for so long - not because I had to, but because I enjoyed every second of it. And to be completely honest, I will miss competitive tennis.
"A big thank you to the WTA, which gives the opportunity to female tennis players all over the world to be a part of this wonderful tour, and I'm proud that we have such an amazing association. Thank you as well to the entire WTA staff and medical team, who always ensure that the players are optimally prepared for their matches.
"There have been many people on my tennis journey who have helped me achieve my goals, and I would like to thank each and every one of them, but unfortunately I cannot name everyone in this statement. Thanks to all the coaches, tennis clubs, sponsors and media that have been part of my career.
"I would especially like to thank my family, because without their support I would not be where I am today. Thanks to my parents for all the love and support I received, for never doubting me and for letting me live my dreams. And thanks also to my sister, for never complaining when my tennis was a priority. I will always be grateful for everything.
"Last but not least, a sincere thank you to all the fans who have supported me throughout my career, and for picking me up when I was down, and then carrying me high when I was on a winning streak.
"Despite the emotions that are present today, deep down inside I am smiling and happy, because I am very proud of everything I have achieved. I look forward to the next chapter."
During her 23-year pro career, Srebotnik won 39 Hologic WTA Tour doubles titles, including 2011 Wimbledon (with Kveta Peschke). Following that Grand Slam triumph, Srebotnik rose to WTA Doubles World No.1 for the first time. She held the top spot for a total of 10 weeks during her career.
Srebotnik also had a fruitful singles career, winning four WTA singles titles -- her first at age 17 -- and reaching a career-high ranking of World No.20. She can boast of 27 wins over Top 10 players in singles, and she reached the second week at Grand Slam singles events three times.
The Slovene is also a five-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion, capturing three titles at Roland Garros and one each at the Australian and US Opens.
Her early achievements in each discipline were recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records last year, when she was lauded for being the first tennis player to win the first singles, doubles and mixed doubles events they played in at tour level -- a feat still unmatched by any player, female or male.