Dinara Safina has lost her battle against a chronic back injury and called time on her playing career, her brother Marat Safin told RIA Novosti on Friday.
The 25-year-old Safina, a former world No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam finalist, hasn’t played since April, when the pain forced her to retire against Victoria Azaernka in the quarterfinal of a WTA tour event in Marbella, Spain.
“Dinara has taken the decision to end her career,” Safin told RIA Novosti. “She’s not troubled by it, she’s sees it as a natural stage of life.”
Safin added that the injury wasn’t bad enough to impede his sister’s quality of life, but rules her out of competitive sports for the foreseeable future.
In a blog post from September 30, Safina writes: “I tried to play some tennis this summer with my friend, but I couldn’t. I had to stop after 15 minutes because the pain was just too much.”
She reported she was going to see doctors in Germany to check on her progress, adding “unfortunately I don’t know if and when I’ll return.”
Safina’s finest moments came in 2008, when she won an Olympic silver medal in Beijing and made the French Open final, and in 2009, when she made the final in Australia, France and the Wimbledon semifinal.
Her brother told RIA Novosti that she hadn’t yet decided on her future career.
The 6-foot-1 Safina, who turned pro in 2000, first reported serious problems with her spine after retiring from the WTA Tour Championships at the end of the 2009 season.
She pulled out of the fourth round of the 2010 Australian Open with back trouble, which forced her out of several subsequent tournaments, sending her ranking into a nosedive as she was unable to defend points on the tour.
Safina’s latest ranking was 98.