Former World No. 4 Kiki Bertens announced on her Instagram that she will retire at some point during the 2021 season. The Dutchwoman wants to play Eastbourne, Wimbledon, and the Olympics next. After this stretch of tournaments, she is going to decide whether to play towards the end of the season, based on how well her body recovers.
Bertens won six of her ten WTA titles on clay, including the Premier Mandatory event in Madrid (over Simona Halep in 2019). Her heavy topspin forehand was a perfect fit for the surface, and since making the semifinal at Roland Garros in 2016 (lost in tight straight sets to Serena Williams), Bertens was always named as one of the threats to win that event.
But it never came to be, mostly due to a mix of surprising early losses and health issues. After a great lead-up to Paris in 2019, Bertens was forced to retire just four games deep into her second-round French Open match against Viktoria Kuzmova due to gastrointestinal illness. Her 2020 Roland Garros campaign will be remembered not for the fourth round exit to Martina Trevisan, but for the haunting images as the Dutchwoman had to be taken off the court in a wheelchair after her marathon win over Sara Errani in the second round.
But in her prime, Bertens also experienced a lot of success on other surfaces. The 29-year-old reached the last eight at Wimbledon in 2018, and won the Premier 5 event at Cincinnati just a month after. In 2019, she even made a WTA final on all three surfaces (clay, grass, and hard).
Besides injury issues, the Dutchwoman also names lacking motivation as one of the reasons for her early retirement. Nevertheless, it’s been a great career and Bertens will be remembered for her warm personality and a big game that could challenge the very best. Up until this point, the Dutchwoman has amassed 23 Top 10 victories, including two over World No. 1s (Simona Halep at Cincinnati and Ashleigh Barty at the WTA Finals). And who knows, perhaps Kiki Bertens has one more deep run up her sleeve?
Main Photo from Getty.