MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Just to be clear: Marion Bartoli is not coming out of retirement.
The reigning Wimbledon champion did say, however, that she may play at the All England Club this year — in the invitational legends' doubles event. "So I will play the second week," she said Wednesday.
The 29-year-old Frenchwoman, who retired suddenly just weeks after winning the Wimbledon title last year, has started another chapter in her life but hasn't exactly left tennis behind. Bartoli is in Melbourne for the Australian Open this week to do commentary for French television, visit with her friends on the tour, and promote a new line of jewelry she has designed for — naturally — women who play tennis.
"I'm still so passionate about tennis," she told The Associated Press. "Unfortunately I can't play anymore because of my body, but the passion is still inside, definitely." Bartoli struggled with all manner of injuries during her 14-year career, but she said Wednesday it was her shoulder that really prevented her from continuing.
"The shoulder is basically damaged forever and I can't serve anymore," she said. Bartoli won Wimbledon in her 47th start at a Grand Slam tournament, the most ever played by a woman before winning a major championship. She won it without losing a set.
She admits she might still be too close to the game emotionally when she's in the broadcast booth. She said she almost cried doing commentary for her good friend Dominika Cibulkova's quarterfinal win over Simona Halep at the Australian Open.
"Just to see her in the semifinal, I was so emotional for her because I know all the steps you have to go through," Bartoli said. "I know how she feels deep inside. I've been there." She stressed, however, that she has zero regrets about her decision to leave the game — and a comeback won't be happening.
"Don't expect me to cry or have tears in my eyes," she said. "I have the luxury to say I walk out of the game as the Wimbledon champion and believe me, that's not happening to everyone."