Marion Bartoli has set the record straight, insisting she is not coming back to tennis despite a cryptic tweet she posted last week asking her followers if she should return to the sport she abruptly quit 20 months ago.
The 30-year-old Frenchwoman made a surprise decision to retire from tennis in August 2013, barely a month after she won Wimbledon – her first and only grand slam title.
— Marion bartoli (@bartoli_marion) March 2, 2015
“Coming back or not coming back to #tennis? What do you think? Should I?” tweeted Bartoli earlier this month, sparking rumours or a potential return.
But speaking on Wednesday at Avenue, a luxury shopping spot at Etihad Towers, Bartoli explained the reasoning behind her post on Twitter.
“I really wanted to have the opinion of my fan-base. I asked the question to my fans and the people who are following me,” Bartoli told Sport360 ahead of her exhibition match on Thursday with Jana Novotna at the Emirates Palace.
“And then I don’t know what happened with the whole tennis journalists who got into this idea that I was coming back.
“I was just asking the question to my fans whether they think I should come back or not.
“My life now is about designing my own jewelry collection, which is about to launch. I have a lot more projects and I want to do a sports collection as well. I want to do a shoe collection, an underwear collection, and I have my frozen yoghurt (called ‘Sweet Marion’) that will be launched at Wimbledon.
“It was just for me to get my fans engaged, see what they were thinking about me and I think the outcome was more ‘we loved you just leaving on a high and just leave it that way’ which is my feeling, but I just wanted to have them explain themselves really.”
But what if they had demanded her return?
“I don’t know,” she replied with a laugh. “But you see my fans are thinking the same as me so I think I took the right decision.”
— Avenue at ET (@AvenueatET) March 11, 2015
Before retiring, Bartoli had started working briefly with Amelie Mauresmo, who helped guide to her to the Wimbledon title. Mauresmo is now the coach of ATP world No4 Andy Murray and together they have made headlines with the Frenchwoman being the first female to team up with a top player on the men’s tour.
Bartoli feels more men can follow suit and opt to hire female coaches on the heels of this partnership.
“I believe no matter if you’re a woman or a man, what’s important is having the knowledge. I think there’s a lot of misconception that women can’t have the knowledge of the men’s game and I think it’s been proven wrong,” said Bartoli.
“[Mauresmo and Murray] are probably giving the idea to other men to look maybe for a female coach. Not that they’re going to hire for sure but maybe to look into it.”