Tennis fans were left gutted on Saturday as Kiki Bertens' singles career came to an end in a heartbreaking loss to Marketa Vondrousova at the Olympics.
The former World No.4 bid farewell to her career as a singles tennis player after a tough three-set defeat in Tokyo.
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The 29-year-old from the Netherlands, who will still be competing in the women's and mixed doubles events, announced in June that she planned to retire at the end of 2021.
However she confirmed this week that she will call it a day following the Olympics.
Bertens, who will end her career as the 21st-ranked player, told Reuters she had no regrets about bringing the curtain down on her career.
She said she made the decision in part due to a lingering Achilles injury for which she underwent surgery last year.
"I think I can be really proud of myself. I would have never dreamed what I've achieved," she said after her match.
"There's so many memories, so many great people I've met over the years. I'm just going away with a happy face and no regrets."
Injuries force Kiki Bertens into sad retirement
Bertens reached the semi-finals at the French Open in 2016, losing to Serena Williams.
That marks her best singles result at a grand slam.
She went on to win 10 singles and doubles titles each, and reached as high as World No.4 in May of 2019.
Bertens said she gave it her all in a tense 4-6, 6-3, 4-6 loss to the Czech Republic's Vondrousova.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Bertens played her final singles match in front of empty stands.
"(Crowds) would have been nice of course. But on the other hand I had my whole team behind me today. They were supporting me every single point," she said.
"I know my family and my close friends are watching from home.
"I had this feeling on the court that they were with me. I was just fighting but it was not enough."
After falling behind a set to start the match, Bertens put on a spirited performance, coming back against 41st-ranked Vondrousova to take the second set 6-3.
But she was unable to capitalise on the momentum, going down a break in the third game of the final set.
She saved two match points on Vondrousova's serve in the final game but could not manage a third, hitting a backhand long to send the Czech into the second round of the Olympics for the first time.
— Matthias Lee (@ml_matthias) July 24, 2021
Will miss @kikibertens on tour🎾the poor girl had no color👻 I believe she’ll be back if not as a player than a coach or tennis commentator but she’ll be back👧🎾🇳🇱
— Khalil (@Khalil97222650) July 24, 2021
— Germán🐾🐾🐾 🎾🎾🎾 (@germanionqn) July 24, 2021
#Olympics Tennis watch. Great to see Suarez-Navarro & Mugaruza beat Mertens (doubles #1/Wimb champ!) & AVU. Carla’s first win of her comeback👏👍 Sad to see Kiki Bertens lose to end her career on an empty outside court ❤️😢 God help Petra in this heat!🥵
— Kvittycat (@kvittycat53) July 24, 2021
No upsets today at the #Olympics, Cilic really with a tough one over Menezes but just gets through. But sad to see Bertens' career end today with a loss against Vondrousova. She was fun to watch on clay. Was a journeywoman for years w/many injuries then rose to the top 5.
— FKAnthony2 (@anthony2_fk) July 24, 2021
Sad that Bertens is retiring. I never wished I were a tennis player more than when watching her… pic.twitter.com/vOs9Wc0NWO
— jayムズ (@Badboijayjay07) July 24, 2021
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