Who is Marion Bartoli?
Marion Bartoli is a recently retired pro tennis player from France, who at her best was ranked well inside the world’s top ten. Despite this rankings success, she took until 2013 to win her first major tournament, defeating Sabine Lisicki – who had herself knocked out Serena Williams – in the final. Bartoli decided to retire after this victory, saying that the combined effect of the various injuries she had endured during her professional career made it impossible for her to continue. Previously, she had reached the final of Wimbledon in 2007, losing to Serena’s sister Venus in straight sets.
Unlike many of the other top female tennis players, Bartoli was not an immediate success at the highest level. She entered her first major tournament, the 2001 French Open, at the age of 16, but was knocked out in the first round. In fact, she had to wait until 2006 to record a winning annual record in majors. As well as her run to the Wimbledon final the following year, she also reached the fourth round in the French and US Opens. Until her final triumph, her most successful year had been 2011, when she managed to get to the semis in France and the quarters at Wimbledon. However, in an era dominated by the Williams sisters, she struggled for ultimate consistency.
Bartoli’s playing style was both aggressive and unusual. Her double-handed style applied to both forehand and backhand shots, and she was known for the force with which she hit the ball. She was known as one of the best returners of serve in the women’s game, and her extremely quick reactions enabled her to stand nearer the net than most players when receiving. Bartoli’s style is highly reminiscent of Monica Seles, who was the French woman’s childhood inspiration and was a pioneer of the double-handed forehand grip. Bartoli was rather slow around the court in her youth, but worked hard to address this flaw later in her career.