BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombian No.1 and Grand Slam stalwart Mariana Duque-Mariño has announced her retirement from professional tennis, and is to play her final tournament in front of her home crowd at next month's Claro Open Colsanitas.
"[Mariana] feels exhausted from everything that surrounds the life of an athlete, and she told us that she will focus on personal projects," Ignacio Correa, the CEO of Colsanitas, told reporters today.
Correa also announced that Colsanitas, one of Duque-Mariño's long-term sponsors, will continue to support the 29-year-old if she pursues professional education.
Over the course of her career, Duque-Mariño's greatest successes came in Bogota, scoring five of her eight career WTA quarterfinals in front of her home fans. In 2010, she won her sole career title in the Colombian capital as a No.143-ranked outsider, upsetting future World No.1 Angelique Kerber in the final 6-4, 6-3 to become just the second Colombian WTA titlist in history, following former World No.16 Fabiola Zuluaga. Duque-Mariño would return to the Bogota semifinals in 2015 - the year she also reached her career-high ranking of World No.66.
Six years after lifting the Bogota trophy, Duque-Mariño would reach a second WTA final in Nurnberg, where she scored wins over three German players before falling to Kiki Bertens in the final. A fixture in and around the Top 100 for the best part of a decade, competing in 19 Grand Slam main draws between 2008 and 2018 and notching up third-round appearances at the 2015 US Open and Roland Garros 2017, Duque-Mariño at her best was a classic exponent of old-school variety.
This would serve her best on clay, the surface on which she scored both of her career Top 20 wins - over Sloane Stephens in the first round of Bogota in 2014, and over Anastasija Sevastova in the first round of Roland Garros last year. However, in later years Duque-Mariño's proficiency with the slice and at net enabled her to find success on grass as well, reaching her last quarterfinal at Mallorca 2016.
Duque-Mariño would also rise to the occasion when playing for her country, winning four Pan American Games medals for Colombia between 2007 and 2015 - including a gold in the women's singles at the 2015 edition in Toronto, where she defeated Lauren Davis in the semifinals and Victoria Rodriguez in the final.
Now ranked World No.127, Duque-Mariño's stellar work as the sole player keeping the Colombian flag flying on the world stage is finally coming to an end - and she will hope to pass the baton along to the South American nation's two best teenage hopes, 18-year-old Emiliana Arango (who reached the Bogota quarterfinals on her debut last year) and 17-year-old former junior World No.4 Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.