Keothavong happy time is right to hang up her racquet for good

FORMER British No1 Anne Keothavong feels she is leaving the women’s national game in safe hands, after announcing her retirement from professional tennis yesterday.

The 29-year-old’s career has been curtailed by two serious knee injuries, dragging her to 285th in the world rankings, with her final appearance coming on Centre Court at Wimbledon last month where she bowed out in straight sets to Garbine Muguruza in round one.

Keothavong, who will join BT Sport to assist in their coverage of the WTA Tour, became the first British woman in 16 years to break into the world’s top 50 when she reached 48th spot in 2009.

But with 19-year-old Laura Robson now ranked 31st and Heather Watson rapidly rising through the ranks, the Hackney-born player is content with the timing of the decision to hang up her racquet.

“I think I am leaving tennis in excellent shape, with both Laura Robson and Heather Watson leading the way for Britain in the women’s game,” she said. “I have given my decision a lot of thought and I believe this is the right time to move on to the next stage of my career.”

Keothavong achieved her best grand slam performance at the 2008 US Open where she reached round three, however, she failed in four attempts to advance from the second round at Wimbledon.

Her brother James, though, was in the umpire’s chair when Novak Djokovic beat Juan Martin del Potro in this year’s men’s semi-final.