Former World No. 1 Dinara Safina will officially retire from tennis when she visits the Mutua Madrid Open next week to present the women’s trophy, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.
The 28-year-old once held the number one singles ranking in 2009, but the emergence of a chronic back injury at the back end of the same year has prevented her from returning to the elite tiers of women’s tennis.
Retirement has been on the agenda since late 2011 when health problems appeared to become a devastating long-term issue.
Following an announcement by her older brother Marat Safin in October 2011, Safina allegedly decided to hang up her racquet at 25-years-old due to persistent concerns with her troublesome back.
However this rumour was promptly denied by the Russian, who issued a statement on her official website claiming she was not prepared to call time on her career just yet.
“Hey everybody. I just want to inform you that I AM NOT retiring at this time. I will continue to use therapy to try to treat my back injury and hope to return to competition eventually,” Safina said.
Having not played since the 2011 Mutua Madrid Open where she lost to German Julia Goerges in the second round, her withdrawal from the WTA tour would seem a genuine prospect at this stage.
Although injury problems blighted what could have been a marvellous career, the 2009 Australian Open finalist enjoyed lifting 12 WTA singles titles with a win-loss record of 360-173.
Safina, who made her debut on the WTA tour at Estoril in May 2002, never managed to lift a Grand Slam singles title despite reaching the finals of the 2008 and 2009 French Open.
The Russian was a significant presence on the women’s doubles tour earlier in her career, winning nine WTA titles and reaching the last-eight of the Australian Open in 2004 and 2005.
Her first and only triumph at a major came nearly seven years ago when she won the 2007 US Open women’s doubles crown partnering French woman Nathalie Dechy. The pair defeated Chan Yung-jan and Chuang Chia-jung of Taiwan 6-4 6-2 in the final.
She won the 2005 Fed Cup in Paris by defeating France, the host nation, 3-2 to give Russia its second consecutive and overall title.
Safina also earned a silver medal for Russia at 2008 Beijing Olympics where she lost to compatriot Elena Dementieva 6-3 5-7 3-6 in the women’s singles final.
The 28-year-old and two-time Grand Slam champion sibling Marat Safin, who retired from tennis in November 2009, are the first-ever brother-sister World No. 1 pair.
Safina is now attending university in her city of birth, Moscow.
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