They say those good things like in small packages, and Dominika Cibulkova is an example of this sentence. 1.61m of strength and determination, the Slovakian said goodbye to tennis after a series of physical problems that conditioned her last months as a professional.
30-years-old chose a special day to announce her retirement on the day her autobiography was released. Her new hairstyle heralds a new beginning. She played her last match at the Roland Garros, against Aryna Sabalenka, the last challenge of a very positive career.
The 2016 WTA Finals win against Angelique Kerber will remain her sweetest memory. Winner of 8 titles in 21 finals played, Cibulkova reached the final at the Australian Open 2014, the semi-final at the French Open 2009 and the quarter-finals at Wimbledon (2011, 2016, 2018) and at the US Open, in 2010.
"When I started playing tennis they kept telling me I was too small. This made what I did on the tour even more exciting. The retirement was not a sudden choice, but a long process. When I lost against Azarenka in Miami, I was already convinced that it would be my last match.
Then I talked to my coach and he reminded me of the promise to play in Fed Cup, in order to greet the Slovak public and make a further evaluation on my condition". Cibulkova showed during her career that with her determination and her tennis great results can be achieved, beyond the height or other physical factors that can more or less help a tennis player.
The decision to leave the tennis courts was therefore gradual: at the Roland Garros, during the retirement of her doubles-partner Lucie Safarova, she already knew that her retirement had also arrived: "It was a strange feeling: I knew it was the end for me too but no one, apart from my team, was aware of it.
I came back home serene, happy and convinced of my choice. It is difficult to make such a decision, but then you feel freer. I have long felt that life in tennis was very hard, between trips and training, with the need to give 100% in every single day.
I started to get tired, besides I was by now convinced to have given enough, and to have obtained unimaginable things in my career". The WTA Tour, therefore, greets another star of its own, which has lit up the courts in recent years, demonstrating once again that tennis is not just a physical factor: courage and determination are the skills that make the difference.