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Mauresmo calls time on career

PARIS, December 3 – Two-time Grand Slam winner Amelie Mauresmo of France announced Thursday she is retiring at the age of 30 following a decision made "after careful consideration."AMELIE_MAURESMO_Geneva-based Mauresmo, a former world number one who currently stands 21 in the rankings, won Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2006 during a stellar career which saw her land 25 singles titles as well as 15 million dollars in prizemoney.

"I’ve come here to announce the end of my career. I made this decision after careful consideration," an emotional Mauresmo told a news conference in Paris adding that, above all, the constant grind of the circuit had taken a mental and physical toll.

"I’ve devoted 25 years to tennis and obtained results which went beyond my wildest dreams. (But) the more you advance the tougher it is to retain your level and keep it up for weeks at a stretch. It was getting harder and harder. Today I no longer have the desire to get out there and train."

"From there, you have to make the decision (to stop.)

"I was lucky enough to have an extraordinary career – ten magical years."

Mauresmo came to prominence at Grand Slam level with a run to the 1999 Australian Open and she reached the semis at the US Open that same year.

Her Wimbledon title success came after three losing semi-final showings.

In 2004 she won Olympic silver.

But she suffered disappointments on home clay at Roland-Garros, where she could only manage two runs to the quarter-finals.

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In 2005 she won the Masters end of season event.

Mauresmo last appeared on court on September 2 when she lost in the second round of the US Open against 39th-ranked Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak in straight sets.

She announced the following month she would not play again this season citing a slump in her motivation to keep competing at the top level.

Her final title came appropriately enough at the Paris Open earlier this year when she defeated Elena Dementieva.

She first appeared aged just 16 at Roland-Garros after receiving a wild card entry, then the following year she was crowned junior world champion.

Her first major breakthrough came with her run to the Australian Open final in January 1999, when she lost in straight sets to Martina Hingis.

Mauresmo then reached the 2002 Wimbledon semis as she showed she could mix serve and volley with the best on grass even though she struggled to find her best form on the Roland Garros clay, where home expectations appeared to weigh ever more heavily following her rise to prominence on other surfaces.

After further runs to the last four in 2004 and 2005, she finally secured the Wimbledon title in 2006 at the expense of Justine Henin, who ironically after retiring 18 months ago is now returning to the circuit.

In November 2003 Mauresmo added a Fed Cup win to her honours collection and in September the following year, despite a US Open quarter-finals defeat, she sat atop the rankings, the first French tennis star to achieve the feat.

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Although she only held the ranking for five weeks she returned to the number one slot in 2006 shortly after she beat compatriot Mary Pierce in the Masters Final in Los Angeles.

There followed her Grand Slam title breakthrough – though the taste of success was somewhat marred in being achieved after trophy match rival Henin had to retire through injury early in the second set.

Semi-final opponent Kim Clijsters had also retired through injury to benefit Mauresmo.

However, Mauresmo defeated Henin with brio in the Wimbledon final to give France their first champion since Suzanne Lenglen 81 years earlier.

But an appendicitis operation in 2007 gradually began to draw Mauresmo down and despite her Paris indoor title win she hinted that this season would be her last, confirming as much on Thursday.

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