Schnyder calls time on long, bizarre career

Schnyder calls time on long, bizarre career

The 32-year-old Swiss made her majors bow at Roland Garros in 1996 and suitably chose her 16th successsive French Open to announce her decision.

"It's time to close this chapter of my tennis career. It's very emotional," said a tearful Schnyder at a news conference.

"I had always wanted to win a Grand Slam title but that will have to remain a dream."
Left-hander Schnyder reached a career high of seven in the world in 2005, a year after she had recorded her best Grand Slam peformance of a semi-final at the Australian Open in 2004.

But she hit the headlines as a teenager when she hooked up with Rainer Harnecker, a self-styled "natural therapist" who convinced her to give up meat and drink three litres of orange juice a day.

Her parents became so concerned for the welfare of their daughter, who by now was Harnecker's girlfriend, that they hired a private detective, Rainer Hofmann to help out.
Schnyder's story then took a new twist, worthy of any soap opera, when she split with Harnecker and eventually married Hofmann in December 2003. 

"Sometimes you have no advice. Nobody knows what to do, how to help you, and then you have to decide," Schnyder said.

"I grew up and I developed my personality. It's a tough life. Nothing is just given for free. But I know life can be tough. Life is very similar to tennis, and tennis is life."

On Saturday, she admitted that time was catching up with her and having not won a match on clay all year, she believed the time was right to bow out.

"I have been very proud to share great moments with all the fans over the world and with so many champions from many decades. It's an overwhelming feeling and now I just need some time," she said.

"I felt I had some more years in tennis but the last five weeks on clay I have not been able to push away the desire of wanting to do other things in my life. That's the feeling of my heart.

 "And after my first round defeat here (against Sorana Cirstea in straight sets), I dedided I had to do something."

Schynder said her best memory would remain her victory on home ground at the Zurich tournament in 2002 where she defeated Lindsay Davenport in the final.

She also beat a succession of world number ones in her time including Martina Hingis, Serena Williams, Steffi Graf, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin as well as current world leader Caroline Wozniacki.

"Regrets? That's too strong a word," she added. "When I was a kid, I had so many dreams and some came true. I wanted a Grand Slam title but that will have to remain a dream."