THAILAND’S most successful professional tennis player Tamarine Tanasugarn announced her retirement from the game after more than 22 years on the circuit.
The 39-year-old, who was world No 19 in May 2002, decided to call it a day after her mother Sunetra passed away on Saturday at the age of 66.
“Life without mom is tough. I thought it’s time to hang up the racquet. The level of success I achieved, the heights I reached was far from what I thought I would,” said Tamarine, winner of four WTA singles titles.
“I have experienced the highest as well as the lowest moments throughout my career. I have looked at those as some kind of a valuable experience. I’m getting older and it’s time to move on to the next phase of my life,” said Tamarine.
“In fact, I was waiting for the right moment to announce my retirement. I have to focus on a new career and unfortunately I won’t have the guidance of my mother. However, I will try to pass on my experience to younger players.”
Apart from her work at the Police Department, Tamarine runs a tennis academy for under-10 children called “The Ace” at the Crystal Park Ram Indra.
The 2008 Wimbledon quarter-finalist, the only Thai player, male or female, to reach that stage in a Grand Slam event, said she is willing to work as a coach if Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand assigns her to improve the quality of young players.
“I was born for tennis and I got the fame because of tennis. So tennis is the only thing I can give back to the society without having to continue playing as a professional,” she said.
Apart from four career titles (2003 in Hyderabad on hard court, 2008-2009 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on grass and 2010 in Osaka on hard), Tamarine also won eight WTA doubles titles. Her best performance in each Major was a fourth round appearance in the Australian Open in 1998, third round at French Open in 2002, quarter-final at Wimbledon in 2008 and fourth round at US Open in 2003.
She also spearheaded Thailand to a historic two Fed Cup World Group II appearances in 2005-06. She and Paradorn Srichaphan reached the final at the World Mixed Team Hopman Cup in 2000 and reached the Olympics quarter-finals with Benjamas Sangaram in the Sydney Olympics that year.