Wimbledon women’s champion Marion Bartoli has been announced to play at the Liverpool Hope University International Tennis Tournament in June, reports The Daily Mail.
The 29-year-old, who retired from tennis after her tournament victory at SW19 in 2013, is set to play in her first exhibition match since that win at Liverpool Cricket Club.
The Frenchwoman hung up her racket after achieving her lifetime ambition at Wimbledon, citing injury problems that had caused her pain throughout her career as a reason for wanting to stop playing.
Bartoli will play the week before this year’s championships get underway at the All England Club and will join an all-star line-up of ex-professionals at the grass court tournament, which includes former British number one Greg Rusedski and former Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade.
The tournament, which is the largest tennis exhibition event in Europe, has been graced in the past by tennis greats such as John McEnroe, Martina Hingis and Ilie Nastase and this year’s tournament runs from June 18-22.
It is not the first time Bartoli has picked up a racket since retiring, as she returned to Wimbledon to play at the annual club championships last October, becoming the first reigning champion to ever participate in the event.
Tennis has not been the only focus of Bartoli's life since making the decision to retire, as she has also been doing media work and working in the world of fashion.
Bartoli has not expanded on whether this will lead to a professional comeback in the sport, but she is excited about the prospect of playing again.
“I am extremely excited to be part of this year's impressive line-up at the Liverpool Hope University International Tennis Tournament,” she said.
“I am a big football fan so I am excited about visiting Liverpool for the first time and meeting some true Liverpudlians - hopefully I will have time to visit Anfield and Goodison.
“The event has a great reputation and I am excited to be a part of it this year and to be back playing on grass.”
Her victory in south-west London last year was the defining moment of her career and achieved it by defeating German Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4, which made her only the sixth player in the Open era to win the tournament without losing a set at any stage.
It had seemed that a maiden Grand Slam victory may never come for Bartoli, she was beaten in her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2007.
She caused one of the greatest upsets in Wimbledon history by coming back to beat top seed Justine Henin from a set and a break down on Centre Court when she was seeded 18th, before being beaten by Venus Williams in the final.
Her next realistic chance to break her duck came at the French Open in 2011, where she lost to the then defending champion Francesca Schiavone.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU