Sugiyama set to hang up her racquet

 
The former world number-eight singles and number-one doubles player told national network Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) that she could not see herself competing next season, after she was eliminated in the first round of the singles event in the US Open.

The 34-year-old Sugiyama, who has made 62 Grand Slam appearances since becoming a professional in 1992, will make her final competitive appearance at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Japan later this month, NHK said. Sugiyama, who stood at the world number 71 in singles and six in doubles as of August 31, was quoted by NHK as saying that she wished to retire if she could not win and go above 30th in the world ranking.

“Every year, every season, there are times when I can see myself playing in the following season ... I take breaks during the off-season and get going after that,” she said in the interview in New York. “I go through different psychological states and then see clear visions for my near future. But right now, to be honest, I cannot see the next season for myself,” Sugiyama said.

She cited the difficulty of keeping her top form and beating younger players as she grew older.

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