UPDATE 3-Tennis-Former world number one Mauresmo retires at 30

Thu Dec 3, 2009 2:30pm GMT

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(Adds details)

By Chrystel Boulet-Euchin

PARIS, Dec 3 (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.

Mauresmo first topped the rankings in September 2004 and clinched her two grand slam titles in 2006 when she won the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

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

"I had three main goals in my career, becoming world number one, claiming a grand slam title and a Fed Cup. I achieved all of them," said Mauresmo.

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

DIAMOND GAMES

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

She spent a long time in the wilderness and thought about quitting before storming back to claim the Paris Open title in February 2009.

"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 Centre 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. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

((julien.pretot@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 4949 5370; RM: julien.pretot.reuters.com@reuters.net; For the Reuters sports blog Left Field go to blogs.reuters.com/sport))

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