The bulwark of Polish tennis for many years, Agnieszka Radwanska, announced her retirement from professional tennis at the age of 29. In a professional career spanning 13 years, the Pole won an impressive 20 WTA titles. Radwanska has hinted that although she has decided to retire from the WTA Tour, she will be still active on the tennis circuit in some way or the other.
A thorough professional and a fan favorite, Radwanska has been hampered by injuries for the last couple of years and her ranking has taken a beating. For 9 consecutive years from 2008 to 2016, Radwanska was ranked inside the Top-15 of the WTA rankings. She has earned the nicknames 'The Ninja' and 'The Professor' owing to her improvisation and remarkable shot-making abilities.
The most famous among Polish tennis athletes, Radwanska received a congratulatory message post her retirement announcement from Poland President Andrzej Duda for her successes on court and efforts to popularize the game of tennis in her home country. We take a look back at 5 of her noteworthy career achievements :
#5 Wimbledon runner-up in 2012
Agnieszka Radwanska was the third seed going into the Wimbledon Championships of 2012. She won her first four matches against Magdalena Rybarikova, Elina Vesnina, Heather Watson, and Camila Giorgi in straight sets. She reached the quarterfinals where she beat Maria Kirilenko in a tough 3 set contest.
Up against 8th seed Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals, the Pole looked in delightful form as she did not lose a single break of serve and took the match in straight sets to book a finals contest against sixth seed and favorite Serena Williams. Radwanska was well and truly second best in the first set but she quickly made amends and stunned the powerful American to win the second set and level the match.
The third set saw Radwanska lose her service game on 2 occasions handing the match and the Championship to Serena Williams. It was a momentous 2 weeks for the Pole as she rose to a career-high ranking of World Number 2 post her Wimbledon exploits.
#4 Fan Favorite shot of the year winner for 5 different years
The WTA shot of the Year was introduced by the WTA in the year 2013. Each year towards the end of the season, the WTA puts out a list of 5 of the best shots from the Women's field and asks the fans to vote for their best shot in a poll.
Each year since the inception, the award has been won by Agnieszka Radwanska. The Pole is aptly nicknamed 'The Ninja' for her remarkable ability to pull of winners from positions of weakness.
# Fan's Favorite Singles Player of the Year winner on 6 different occasions
The WTA announced the award of Fan's Favorite Player in the year 2009 where the fans of the game get to vote who their favorite player of the year has been on the WTA official website.
No other player has won the award more number of times than Agnieszka Radwanska. The much-liked Pole has dominated the award, winning it on 6 consecutive occasions between 2011 to 2016 inclusive.
#2 Winner of the 2015 WTA Finals in Singapore
Going into the 2015 WTA Finals in Singapore, Agnieszka Radwanska was the 5th seed. It was also the 5th straight year that the Pole had qualified for the WTA Finals. Radwanska was drawn in the Red Group along with Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova and 2015 US Open Champion Flavia Pennetta.
She lost her first match in three sets to Maria Sharapova. She also lost her second match to Flavia Pennetta. She was heavily dependent on the outcome of other matches as her stay in the tournament was no longer in her hands. She, however, managed to beat Simona Halep in straight sets in her final Red Group match and this coupled with other favorable outcomes ensured her a semi-finals berth where she beat Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets.
In the final, she was up against Czech Petra Kvitova. She beat her in a mammoth 3 set contest to take home her only WTA Finals trophy. It was the last instance where a player ended winning the title after losing the first two group matches.
#1 Highest ever career ranking of World Number 2
Radwanska's best moments of her tennis career came during 2011 - 2016. For 9 consecutive years between 2008 to 2016, she was ranked inside the Top-15 of the WTA rankings. She is the first player from Poland to be ranked inside the WTA Top-10.
She is also the first Polish tennis athlete to surpass $1 million in career prize money. Radwanska finished the year 2009 ranked an impressive Number 8 after qualifying for the WTA Finals that year for the first time.
After the Madrid Open of 2012 where she finished runner-up to Victoria Azarenka, Radwanska cracked the Top-3 rankings for the first time in her career. Following her run to the Wimbledon final the same year, Radwanska reached a career-high ranking of World Number 2 in July 2012.
She finished 2012 on a high after making the semis of the WTA Finals finishing the year ranked Number 4 - her best finish to a calendar year.