Former world number one Ana Ivanovic has retired from professional tennis, aged 29.
The Serbian, who won the French Open in 2008, has struggled with injury problems in 2016, winning only 15 matches, and did not play on the WTA Tour after the US Open in August.
She said in a live announcement on her official Facebook page on Wednesday evening: "I have some big news I want to share with you. I have not announced it anywhere else because I think you deserve to hear it first. So what is it? Well, there is no other way to say it – I have decided to retire from professional tennis."
After suffering a fifth straight loss in the opening round of the US Open in August, Ivanovic insisted she was not thinking of retiring, but subsequently announced she was calling time on her 2016 season in a bid to allow wrist and toe injuries to fully heal.
Ivanovic had posted pictures of herself back in training in December and was one of the highest-profile players to compete in this year’s International Premier Tennis League in Asia.
However, the Serbian had earlier this week fuelled speculation over her future by a cryptic message posted on Twitter, in which she said: “My dear fans & supporters. Pls tune in to my Facebook page tomorrow at 6pm UK time, where I’ll be sharing something important with you live.”
Ivanovic, who married Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger during the summer, was due to begin the new season at the ASB Classic in Auckland, starting on January 2nd, and was also on the entry list for the Australian Open.
Following her Facebook video, the 29-year-old also issued a written statement via her official Twitter account, which read: “This has been a tough decision, but there is so much to celebrate.
“My dear parents backed me all the way and by the time I was ranked #1 in the world in 2008, I’d seen highs I’d never dreamed of.
“But seeing those ‘highs’ in any professional sport demands top physical form, and it is well known that I have been hampered by injuries.
“For myself, for my fans, for all the young girls and boys who might be watching me . . . I can only play if I can perform up to my own high standards, and I can no longer to that. It is time to move on.”
Ivanovic added she would not be “disappearing completely from the (WTA Tour) circuit” and was “excited about the new challenges and the new path ahead of me”.