Tine Baun, the best European women’s singles player of the last decade, has called time on her glittering career. The two-time All England champion has given herself five more months in the circuit before quitting for good. The All England 2013 will be her final farewell.
Speaking on the opening day of her home event, the Denmark Open 2012, Baun said she was ‘dreading’ the decision but has decided it was time. “It has not been an easy decision to make,” she said in a statement. “There have been a lot of tears, and there has been put much thought into it, but it’s the right thing. I am happy about the decision and I am looking forward to the new life I am about to start.”
At her best, Tine was perhaps the only European player who could consistently thwart the Chinese. Both her All England titles came with victories over Chinese players. Her 6-foot plus frame and broad shoulders defined the way she played. Neither graceful nor artistic, Baun was yet able to hold her own against the world’s best by means of her attacking game and composure under pressure.
“I think I have succeeded in what I have done,’ Baun said. “It is with great pride that I look back — I did deliver. I have a resume which include a lot of great victories. I have defeated many different (kinds of) players, and I may have achieved more than I could have dreamed of. I am proud of having defeated five Chinese players in a row to win, and it has helped make my career into what it is today. I clearly remember that the former coach Steen Pedersen once said: ‘The ugly duckling has turned into a swan’.”
Baun’s first big triumph was the Japan Open Super Series in 2007. She immediately followed that up with title victories at the Malaysian Open and the All England. Both her All England triumphs – in 2008 and 2010 – were memorable. In 2008 she overcame some nervous play and a tenacious opponent in Lu Lan to win the trophy, while in 2010, she was able to get past the wiles of the emerging Wang Yihan.
“At first I dreaded it (the decision to quit), but then I made the decision. I started to feel more confident about it. I am looking forward to start my studies and hopefully a job, and I also want to start another great chapter which include the children.”
Baun’s impending retirement will pose a huge challenge for Denmark as it seeks possible replacements.