Lucie Safarova wanted to temporarily come out of retirement to play this week’s $25,000 ITF tournament in Reims, France, primarily to support the career of her niece Emma Dvorackova, but rules prohibit her from making this brief return to competition.
The former world No.5 Safarova won her first-round singles match against Yaroslava Bartashevich on Tuesday, but will not be able to proceed, handing Mona Barthel a walkover. The Czech’s doubles match, which was scheduled for Tuesday evening, didn’t take place, so Ukrainians Mariia Bergen and Daria Lopatetska received a walkover.
The 36-year-old Safarova explained the situation on her Instagram profile:
Although I wanted to use my time on court as preparation for an exhibition tournament later this month, and to play doubles with my niece, my participation has been qualified as an “official return to professional tennis” and it needed to be signaled to the ITF prior to competing. I was not informed of this mandatory procedure, but I respect the decision made by the tennis authorities. Even though it’s very disappointing to me, I want to thank the tournament for allowing me to play once more.
The exhibition tournament that Safarova mentions is the 2023 Luxembourg Ladies Tennis Masters, a legends event that will take place from Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 October 2023. Safarova will join seven other retired women’s tennis players: Kim Clijsters, Anett Kontaveit, Daniela Hantuchova, Andrea Petkovic, Monica Puig, Pauline Parmentier, and Mandy Minella.