Bartoli to make shock return
Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has announced she will return to the WTA Tour in 2018.
France's Bartoli shocked the tennis world with an abrupt retirement in 2013, just six weeks on from beating Sabine Lisicki at SW19 to win the only Grand Slam title of her career.
In October the 33-year-old refuted reports she was poised to comeback, stating such a move would be "impossible".
But Bartoli posted a short statement and accompanying video on her Twitter page on Tuesday to confirm a stunning U-turn.
"I am delighted to announce my comeback on the professional circuit of the WTA next year," she said.
"I am so looking forward to seeing you again during my matches and sharing some amazing emotions with you."
I am delighted to announce my comeback on the professional circuit of the @WTA next year— Marion bartoli (@bartoli_marion) December 19, 2017
I am so looking forward to see you again during my matches and share some amazing emotions with you . @Eurosport_FR #marionisback pic.twitter.com/KVPUnwEqlp
On Instagram, Bartoli added: "I'm really looking forward to being on the court again, especially in Paris at Roland Garros in my home country, but also for the Fed Cup and Wimbledon."
Bartoli has eight WTA singles titles to her name but suffered health problems after her retirement, saying she "feared for her life" in 2016 when struck down by a virus that caused dramatic weight loss.
Rumours of a return surfaced recently when she was spotted at the French Tennis Federation (FFT) two months ago, but she told Eurosport playing competitively again was not viable.
"I don't know why everyone wants me to be back, but I won't do it," she said. "I simply visited a doctor at the French Tennis Federation.
"When I was sick last year, I was followed and helped by professionals who I trust. I still travel much, so I want to make sure not to get sick and be healthy.
"Due to my current life, it's impossible to restart again. I lived a year of hell in 2016 and I want to put it behind me.
"I feel nostalgic, I liked so much what I was doing. I will always have that fighting spirit. I had the chance to write a very beautiful story. Now I write something different."
But Bartoli will now pick up the same story she put down more than four years ago.