The will is there, but body won’t listen: Nadia Petrova, Jarmila Wolfe retire from professional tennis


After Ana Ivanovic left professional tennis, the WTA is saying goodbye to two more players whose injuries can’t be healed any more: Russian Nadia Petrova and Australian Jarmila Wolfe.

After almost two decades of professional career and 917 singles and doubles match wins, the 34-year-old Petrova decided to quit tennis, as her body simply couldn’t recover from the strains it had gone through en route to the Russian’s 13 WTA singles and 24 WTA doubles titles.

Plagued by injuries, the former world No.3 Petrova did everything she could, but her body persistently said no:

I played and worked out, but every time I tried to step it up and work towards a tour level, my body would break down. It’s tough when you have all these pains and then have to go on the court, trying to perform at your best level.

The 2005 French Open semifinalist lost her mother in a car accident in 2013 and even that tragedy didn’t stop her from trying to return to tennis, but it turned out to be impossible.

In February 2014, I tried playing to see how I felt. My mind was still everywhere but on the court and my body was just not responding. It was painful. Painful because I felt useless and the player I was once, was no longer there. […]  I had to start facing the inevitable and that was that my career had come to an end.

Jarmila Wolfe
This “flying sweat” photo of Jarmila is one of my photographer’s best shots ever. It was taken in Hong Kong in 2014.

The 29-year-old Wolfe was also forced to quit as her body kept saying no. The former world No.25 Australian wanted to play one more Australian Open and properly say goodbye to her home crowd, but a chronic back injury rushed her hard decision to retire. On a brighter side, Wolfe will now peacefully enjoy her family life with husband Adam.

My tribute to Jarmila’s career is this super cute childhood photo of her getting ready for a tennis practice.

Big decisions are never easy, but these ladies have certainly made the right choice, opening a new, better chapter of their lives. Good luck, Nadia and Jarka!


  1. Nadia is another sad Russian tennis story ( Gosh we had so many of those in such a short span) I’m not sure if she has ever reached her full potential but she has always been a very strong and entertaining player. One of the best memories of her I have are her match against Clijsters at australian open where she absolutely crushed her while we were anticipating Clijsters-Henin match and her USO match against sharapova ( I truly believe if it wasn’t for rain delays, she’d have won that). I truly hope she completely recovers from her physical strain she put herself through as well as mental pain she’s been going through since she lost her mother. If you’re reading this good luck Nadia 🙂

  2. Sru, it’s also sad that her retirement came after years of her absence from the tour, so the news went by almost unnoticed by larger tennis public. She’s not active in social media and her glory days were more than a few years ago, so a lot of people have forgotten just how great a player she was.

  3. I agree it’s been too long for them to remember how great she was which is very sad! I just hope she remains in touch with the sport in some way or other so that we know what she’s up to since she hasn’t been active on social media at all

  4. Sru, she’ll not disappear completely, but I guess we’ll see her very rarely. Here’s what she said:

    “My business partner and I are planning to team up with MV Sports Management and recruit some players.

    “I would definitely like to stay involved in tennis. It teaches you responsibility and independence from a young age. You learn to be strong and stand your ground. I’m just looking forward to what the future has for me.”


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