NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA - Two-time Roland Garros doubles champion Anabel Medina Garrigues played the final match of her professional career at the US Open, pairing with longtime partner Arantxa Parra Santoja in their first round defeat against Dalila Jakupovic and Irina Khromacheva, 6-4, 6-0.
“I had thought that I wouldn’t feel so much sadness,” an emotional Medina Garrigues told press. it’s like everything is sinking in right now and there’s a bit of sadness. I think maybe in a few hours it’ll pass.
“It was a choice that I had thought about a lot, I made the decision a long time ago.”
Insider Exit Interview: Anabel Medina Garrigues set to retire after US Open
Medina Garrigues, who retired from singles in 2014, announced earlier this year that the US Open would be her final tournament after struggling to recover from a lingering shoulder injury that had sidelined her for much of 2016 and 2017.
During her layoff, Medina Garrigues co-coached Jelena Ostapenko to the French Open title in 2017 and helped bring an ITF tournament to her hometown Valencia - the BBVA Open Ciudad de Valencia, where she serves as tournament director.
In addition to her two Grand Slam titles, Medina Garrigues owns an Olympic silver medal in doubles along with 39 WTA singles and doubles titles across her 20-year-career. Parra Santoja, who has partnered with her for many of those titles in the latter stage of her career, was alongside her today for the emotional sendoff.
“I was feeling very nervous for the whole week leading up to today,” Medina Garrigues admitted. “But today was probably the day I’ve been the least nervous.
“We played a great first set, it’s too bad we weren’t able to win that one. And in the second set, they played a little better and we probably had it in our minds what was about to happen.
“My shoulder was still not 100 percent, I can’t serve like I know I can. But the important thing is that I wanted retire on the court. And that’s also why I want to thank Arantxa - she knew I wasn’t going to be 100 percent and even still she chose to partner with me. She is an incredible person, a great partner and the person that I chose to end my career with.”
With the curtain drawn on her professional tennis career, Medina Garrigues will stick around in Flushing Meadows in her role as Spain’s Fed Cup captain, supporting Garbine Muguruza, Carla Suarez Navarro and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez - the three Spaniards still in contention.
After that, Medina Garrigues said her focus will switch to preparations for the BBVA Open Ciudad de Valencia, which kicks off in just over a month at the end of September, before finally taking a much-needed break.
While her priority is still the Spanish Fed Cup team, Medina Garrigues hinted that a return to coaching could be somewhere in her future.
“Towards the end of the year I’ll start preparing for the upcoming year with some of the players as they start their pre-season in Australia. And then it’ll be a new adventure with the Fed Cup team,” she said.
“Due to my commitment as Fed Cup captain, I won’t be able to take on any players for coaching. But it’s something that I’ve already done and I like, and in the future the doors are super open for me to be a coach once again in the future. But of course it has to be after Fed Cup is over because that’s a big focus for me.”
In other doubles news, top seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova kicked off their US Open campaign with a win, defeating Kateryna Bondarenko and Aleksandra Krunic, 7-6(4), 6-1. No.2 seeded team Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic edged past Kirsten Flipkens and Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-4, 7-5.