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Safarova to retire after 2019 Australian Open

147   //    10 Nov 2018, 19:26 IST
LucieSafarova - cropped
Former world number five Lucie Safarova

Former world number five Lucie Safarova will retire from tennis after the 2019 Australian Open.

The 31-year-old made the announcement ahead of the Fed Cup final between Czech Republic and United States, citing health issues as the main reason behind her decision.

Safarova was hospitalised with a bacterial infection in September 2015 and has since suffered from reactive arthritis.

The left-hander had that year reached the French Open final, losing to Maria Sharapova, and climbed to a career-high ranking of fifth prior to being sidelined.

Safarova won five grand slam doubles titles alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands, with Wimbledon the only major they failed to triumph at.

"I've been thinking about it for a long time. Already with Rob [Steckley, her coach] we spoke about this being the last season," she said.

"I've had a great career, but I'm not healthy enough. And I don't want to worry about small tournaments.

"I don't want to end up playing the qualifiers and worrying about tennis. I don't think it should be that way."

Safarova intends to play singles and doubles at Melbourne Park and no tournaments beforehand.

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