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WORLD SPORT

Martinez announces her retirement

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Martinez is quitting after a lengthy and distinquished career.

MADRID, Spain -- Conchita Martinez, the only Spanish woman to win the Wimbledon singles title, announced her retirement on Saturday.

Martinez, who will turn 34 on Sunday, prevented Martina Navratilova from winning a 10th Wimbledon singles title when she beat the American in the 1994 final.

The baseliner reached two other grand slam finals in her career, losing to Martina Hingis in the Australian Open in 1998 and to Mary Pierce at Roland Garros in 2000.

"It wasn't an easy decision because tennis has been my life," Martinez told a news conference in Valencia.

"I feel proud of everything I have achieved in a sport that has given me so much.

"There have been many years of sacrifice and there have been some hard times, but that will all be forgotten and in the end I will remember the successes and the good times.

"It's difficult to find the motivation after so many years at the top.

"In any case I prefer tennis as it was seven or 10 years ago. Today physical strength is everything and the harder you hit it the better.

" I miss the variety of play there was in the past."

Overall she won 33 singles titles after turning professional in 1988, her last victory coming in 2005 when she won at Pattaya City in Thailand.

Martinez climbed to number two in the rankings in October 1995 after reaching the semifinals in all four grand slams and finished the season with more match wins than any other player on the tour.

She won five Fed Cup titles with Spain and took part in four Olympic Games, winning silver in the doubles events at Barcelona in 1992 and Athens in 2004, and a bronze at Atlanta in 1996.

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