Saturday, 5 May 2019, 10:30. This was the moment Lucie Šafářová definitively ended her outstanding tennis career in front of her home Czech fans: five Grand Slam and five Fed Cup titles, Roland Garros singles finalist and regarded as one of the nicest tennis players out there. All of this despite many health setbacks and all the injuries and effort that Lucie Šafářová had to put in throughout her career.
As soon as Lucie Šafářová set foot on the clay court in Prague to say her final farewell, her eyes filled with tears. The organisers created a video reel of her whole career including personal messages from tennis stars Navrátilová, Kvitová, Strýcová, Kerber and her loyal partner Mattek-Sands.
She was left speechless. “I wanted to say a lot, but my prepared speech is long gone now,” said a laughing Šafářová still with tears of joy in her eyes. “I had a fantastic career. It wasn’t always so lovely – behind the scenes it was a lot of hard work, effort and tears. I wouldn’t have managed a thing without my family and friends,” she added.
“I will still be close to tennis and I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life and career,” said Šafářová as she waved to the Czech fans for the very last time.
Her career isn’t over yet though, as the 32-year-old will appear at this year’s Roland Garros, where she will feature in doubles alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands. After that she will finally put her tennis racket away for good.