Former world number one Mauresmo retires at 30

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By Chrystel Boulet-Euchin

PARIS (Reuters) - Twice grand slam winner and former world number one Amelie Mauresmo, who will be remembered as much for her elegance on the court as her incapacity to prevail in her home major, announced her retirement on Thursday.

"I came here to announce the end of my career. I made this decision after careful consideration," the 30-year-old Frenchwoman told a news conference before bursting into tears.

"It was becoming tough mentally. What happened is I simply did not want to go training any more. My tennis life lasted 25 years, there were extraordinary things and tough moments."

One of Mauresmo's toughest moments came in 1999, when she came out as a lesbian.

She collected 25 WTA Tour singles crowns and won the Fed Cup with France in 2003.

"When I look back I have no regret and great pride."


However, Mauresmo never made it past the quarter-finals at the her home grand slam, the French Open, despite starting the tournament as favorite several times.

Fragile nerves and a game not really suited for claycourt tennis prevented her from pleasing the Roland Garros fans, who never failed to greet her with loud cries of 'Amelie, Amelie' on center court.

Mauresmo's career started to crumble following her Antwerp Diamond Games victory in 2007 when she took longer than expected to recover from an appendectomy and suffered a series of injuries.

"I had some luck this year because I felt some emotions I had not felt in previous years," she said.

However, Mauresmo failed to keep up the momentum, losing to Russian Dinara Safina in the fourth round at Wimbledon in a match completed under the Center Court's new roof.

Serving at the start, she hit the first competitive shot under the roof in that match.

Mauresmo, who had one of the finest backhands on the tour, had not played since losing to Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak in the second round of the U.S. Open in September.

She ruled out the idea of a farewell season.

"I watched (compatriot) Fabrice (Santoro) do it and that is something that really does not appeal to me," said Mauresmo, the most successful French female player since Suzanne Lenglen in the 1910s and 1920s.

(Writing by Julien Pretot, editing by Tony Jimenez and Alison Wildey)