Nicole Vaidisova, former French Open and Australian Open semifinalist, two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist and one-time Sharapova-in-waiting, is retiring at the ripe old age of 20. We can only assume she’d rather play house with Radek Stepanek than play tennis. Via tennisreporters.net:
Former world No. 7 and two-time Grand Slam semifinalist Nicole Vaidisova has retired at the age 20, sources told TennisReporters.net. She’s scheduled to marry Czech player Radek Stepanek in July.
Vaidisova has reportedly snubbed a wild card offer from next week’s Miami tournament and canceled the rest of her tournament appearances for the year. She played her last tournament in Memphis in February, where she lost in the second round to Kaia Kanepi. It sure looks like the current No. 176 has shut the door on her pro tennis career – for now.
Who better to talk about premature retirement than Kim Clijsters? She was asked for her reaction to the news in Monday’s press conference:
Q. Nicole Vaidisova retired today at 20.
KIM CLIJSTERS: She did?
Q. She did.
KIM CLIJSTERS: Oh, wow.
Q. No. 2, two Grand Slam semifinals, and apparently just didn’t like it much anymore. Can you just talk a little bit about her and how the sport sometimes can maybe eat its own?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, wow. That’s a little bit of a surprise to me. I actually just saw her here the other day. I didn’t know if she was here to practice. Obviously not.
But Nicole — you know, I’ve had — I mean, I’ve practiced with her a lot. I’ve always enjoyed practicing with her. She was a big talent, and, you know, big serve. I don’t know what, you know, made her think now maybe — I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know how she was brought up, the people that she had around her.
I think — I don’t know how that has had an impact on the way she is feeling at the moment. Obviously she’s — I don’t know if she’s married or dating or engaged or…
KIM CLIJSTERS: Engaged? Yeah, to Radek. But that also I think has an influence on I think as a woman. At one point you feel like, Okay, there’s going to be different stages in my life, and I think maybe she has reached one of those.
But obviously I’d like to talk to her and listen to what, you know, how she experienced this whole — yeah, how she experienced, you know, giving up tennis.
Q. But when you were younger it was clear, and with some other players, how much fun you had playing. You could see the joy when you’re on court. With her, it just never looked like…
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, that’s something I felt like when I practiced against her, I was always — you know, it was a good. She hits the ball hard. It was good to get a good feeling out there.
Like I said, she never really — I never really felt when I was playing against her like I played, you know, if I practiced against Jennifer Capriatti or Sugiyama, like those were really good hits and fun hits. We were laughing and training really hard.
I think with her we never really had that feeling that she was out there for the fun of it, as well. You know, I think she felt a lot of pressure, as well. Maybe from her entourage. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. I think also obviously the different personalities. There’s girls, if you’re a perfectionist in sports, I think it’s very hard to achieve, I think.
So, you know, maybe that, after a while, it becomes very draining. You need to realize that every day, everybody, even Roger Federer, makes mistakes. And I think — I don’t know, maybe if that had something to do with it.
You know, she was always a girl, especially in matches, was very down and showed a lot of emotions.
I’m not a huge Vaidisova fan – just didn’t see her play enough. But there’s something sad about a player with so much potential throwing in the towel so young. And obviously the marriage to a man a decade older, along with reports of feuding with her stepdad/coach, sets off all kinds of pop psychology alarms in my head. But heck, maybe she’s happy. And sometimes that’s all you can wish on a tortured ex-teen phenom.
We await an explanation from Vaidisova about her decision to quit. And then we’ll have to wait a little longer to hear why she’s coming back.