Argentina’s Gisela Dulko, a former doubles World No.1, announced her retirement from professional tennis on Sunday on her website. The 27-year-old steps away from the game to focus on other priorities with four WTA singles titles and 17 in doubles.
“Tennis has been my life for 20 years,” said Dulko, who finishes with 309 singles match wins to her name, 305 in doubles, and total prize money earnings of $4,246,105. “I started playing when I was seven and knew from a young age that I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I gave tennis my total devotion. With all my energy and my love I achieved things I never believed possible. Today I am proud to say I enjoyed my career so very much. All of my titles in singles and doubles will forever hold a very special place in my heart.”
“I want to congratulate Gisela on her amazing career and achievements on the court,” said WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster. “Her talent and dedication to the game made her an inspirational champion and ambassador for the sport. I know that I speak for the players, tournaments and fans around the world in saying that we wish Gisela the best of luck in her future endeavors. She will be missed, and we hope that she will stay close to the sport.”
In singles Dulko reached eight WTA finals, her most recent title coming on red clay at Acapulco in 2011. In Grand Slam play she reached the round of 16 on three occasions, at Roland Garros in 2006 and 2011 and the US Open in 2009. She ended the year ranked inside the Top 50 in five of the past nine seasons, achieving her career high of No.26 on November 21, 2005. Along the way she posted nine wins over Top 10 opponents, and registered a memorable three set defeat of former champion Maria Sharapova in the second round of Wimbledon in 2009.
Dulko, who was coached on tour by her brother Alejandro, reached even greater heights in doubles. Among her 17 titles, she won the WTA Championships in 2010 partnering Italy’s Flavia Pennetta. The pair followed that victory in Doha with triumph at the 2011 Australian Open, their 11th trophy together and a maiden Grand Slam title for both. The win at the WTA Championships saw Dulko rise to No.1 on the doubles rankings on November 1, 2010, where she stayed for 24 weeks, joined by Pennetta the following February. The duo, named WTA Doubles Team of the Year for 2010, again qualified for the WTA Championships in 2011, falling to Americans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the semifinals.
Among other accomplishments, Dulko represented her country with distinction as a member of the Argentine Fed Cup Team (2000, 2004-09, 2011) and Olympic Team (2004, 2008, 2012). At this year’s London Games she teamed up with doubles legend Paola Suárez, who came out of a five-year retirement in order to compete with her younger countrywoman.
Dulko married professional footballer Fernando Gago at a ceremony in Buenos Aires in July 2011.