Marion Bartoli’s comeback not to be

After several postponements, the comeback announced by Marion Bartoli back in December is not to be.

The 33-year-old has been retired for nearly five years. She played only a few matches after she unexpectedly won Wimbledon in 2013 without dropping a set.


Since then, Bartoli has searched for her future a little bit, as so many players do. That’s especially so if they end their career at such a young age.

She got involved in designing and doing television commentary. But she also suffered some well-publicized health issues that resulted in a shocking weight loss a few years ago.

At first, bartoli denied having problems. She claimed her natural frame was tiny and now that she wasn’t training, she had reverted to her normal size. But it was clear to anyone that she had gone far beyond that.

Later, she talked about how a bad boyfriend had crushed her self-esteem and caused her to stop eating. 

Wimbledon refused to allow her to play in its legends event in 2016, concerned for her health. She then went on television and told the story of catching some sort of virus in India. It left her unable to eat and fearful for her survival.

A year later, after a reported four-month stay in hospital, Bartoli had regained the weight – and then some.

Comeback announced

Bartoli returned to training after her November announcement. L‘Équipe reported that the French federation had put coach Rodolphe Gilbert and a trainer at her disposal.

And during the qualifying week of the recently-completed French Open, her name was on the schedule for at least one two-hour block of practice time every day. 

During the event itself, she regularly booked 8 a.m. practice times before leaving for her TV duties.

Tie-Break Tens a test

Bartoli took part in the inaugural all-female Tie Break Tens event at Madison Square Garden in New York City in March. But it was clear she wasn’t ready. Worse, she suffered an injury there.

And so, the original goal to return for the Miami Open was postponed.

The next announcement came in April. An exhibition in Liverpool set for later this month announced Bartoli would take part.

No word on whether that will still happen.

French Open legends the decider

Bartoli played in the women’s legends exhibition tournament at the French Open last week. She was with none other than the legendary Martina Navratilova.

While she never wore any tape on that injured shoulder, it was clear that despite more than six months back in intense training, she hadn’t gotten significantly fitter.

And if you’re going to try to play against 20-year-olds on the WTA Tour, you most definitely have to shine against retired players in their 40s.

On Wednesday, Bartoli announced that her return to training had resulted in more pain in her right shoulder. The shoulder had been a problem in the latter stages of her career. And so, her comeback attempt was being shelved.

Here’s what she wrote on Twitter:

“Much to my dismay I must unfortunately stop my comeback attempt. Indeed, the necessary increase in training necessarily to try to find my best level caused pain again in my right shoulder that become incompatible with a return at the highest level. I want to thank everyone who accompanied me on this wonderful human adventure.”

Future plans

Bartoli said she would take some time to reflect, to study the “various professional projects” she’s been offered.

But she has a new idea.

The 33-year-old wrote that she has a “profound desire” to pass along what she has learned at the highest level, and therefore would love to get involved in training a player (male or female) to help them develop their potential to the maximum.

Coach Bartoli? Could be interesting. 

One thing is certain. The Frenchwoman is having trouble saying goodbye to the sport that has taken up a huge chunk of her life so far. Which is certainly not unusual.

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