Tennis

Anne Keothavong joins BT Sport after retiring

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Former British female number one, Anne Keothavong, announced her retirement from professional tennis yesterday.

The statement was followed by the news that she will join BT Sports' tennis coverage team later this year.

Keothavong calls time on a successful career that saw her winning 20 International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles titles, eight ITF doubles titles and appearing in no less than seven Women's Tennis Association (WTA) semi-finals.

In early 2009 she became the first British female to enter the Top 50 singles rankings in 16 years, and was no stranger to Grand Slams, reaching the third round of the US Open in 2008 and the last-four in Warsaw 2009.

The retiring star was also a regular feature at Wimbledon, where she was involved in 13 consecutive main draw appearances, despite recurring injury problems.

In a press release sent to GiveMeSport, Keothavong said: “I have given my decision a lot of thought and I believe this is the right time to move on to the next stage of my career. 

I have had some magical moments along the way and I would like to thank my family for their unwavering support and encouragement, the LTA for their fantastic backing, my coach Jeremy Bates and also Nigel Sears who have both been very influential in my tennis career and of course, the great tennis fans in Britain and all over the world. 

“I think I am leaving tennis in excellent shape with both Laura Robson and Heather Watson leading the way for Britain in the women’s game. I am now focussing on my exciting new challenge with BT Sport where I hope I can provide insight and analysis for tennis fans.” 

The announcement has predictably heralded a number of responses from around the tennis world.

Roger Draper, the LTA's chief executive, commented in the release: “Anne has been a true ambassador for British Tennis, both on and off the court during her entire career. 

"Always proud to represent Great Britain internationally, her determination shone through in 2008 and 2009 when she broke into the Top 50, becoming our best player since Jo Durie in the process. Anne’s courage was evident in coming back from not one, but two challenging knee surgeries. 

"A journey that began on the Park courts of Hackney led to her being an inspirational role model for young girls everywhere, as well as to our current generation of players.  We wish her well in the next chapter of her life.“

Britain's Federation Cup Captain Judy Murray has also voiced her opinion on Keothavong following the announcement. 

“It’s been a real pleasure for me to work with Anne as part of the Fed Cup team. You couldn't ask for a better, more committed team member - a great professional who represented her country with huge pride and passion," she said in the release.

"She's a fabulous role model for the young players and a lot of fun too. I'll miss her fashion advice as well as her presence but I'm sure she has a very bright future ahead of her."

Moving forward, Keothavong will join the likes of Lynsey Hipgrave, former British number one Sam Smith and tennis legend Martina Navratilova to cover the 21 WTA tournaments for BT Sport.

BT Sports' director, Simon Green, welcomed Keothavong with open arms. 

“We are particularly pleased to have signed up Anne for our tennis team. She’s straight off the court and I am sure that will give her fantastic insight into the mentality and performance of her fellow professionals on the tour," he said.

"Anne has been at the forefront of women’s tennis in the UK for years and can give the viewers the benefit of her experience and knowledge of both her fellow British stars, like Heather Watson and Laura Robson, as well as the current top-ranking players.”

 

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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