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Former World No.12 Tatiana Golovin announced a surprise return to tennis after over a decade away from the sport due to chronic back inflammation known as ankylosing spondylitis.
September 13, 2019
On the heels of former World No.1 Kim Clijsters' comeback announcement, former French rival Tatiana Golovin is the latest to announce a return to tennis, having last played professionally in 2008.
"The idea first took shape last year, but I started taking it more seriously since this summer," Golovin said in an interview with BeIN Sports*. "I began very serious physical training last month. The goal was to be ready for the start of next year, but things are moving quickly, and as of today, I'm planning to perhaps resume in mid-October."
Golovin was a rising star in the mid-00s, reaching a career-high ranking of World No.12 just as her first career was coming to a close.
A 2004 French Open mixed doubles champion, she reached the second week of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon that same year and earned her best Grand Slam result at the 2006 US Open - where she upset then-World No.5 Nadia Petrova en route to the quarterfinals.
She won two WTA singles titles and reached her first final as a 16-year-old, finishing runner-up to a 17-year-old Maria Sharapova, who went on to win Wimbledon three weeks later, at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.
The Russian-born Frenchwoman played her last match in the spring of 2008, losing to a young Caroline Wozniacki in the first round of the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, and was ultimately diagnosed with chronic back inflammation known as ankylosing spondylitis.
"I stopped because my body could no longer handle the requirements of high-level sport due to my injury. In the last 18 months, I have been asked on several occasions to talk about it, and in speaking with doctors, I learned that there were treatments that could possibly allow me to come back."
Admitting that she still felt pain, Golovin appears eager to return all the same after spending the last several years watching tennis as a commentator.
"My motivation is not to prove anything to anyone; instead, I want to rediscover myself. In hindsight, I have realized that I expressed myself best as an athlete.
"There is always doubles," she joked when asked how she would manage in the absence of singles success. "But I won't ask myself these questions now, and will instead on my training and preparation," she added, thanking the French Tennis Federation (FFT) and its president, Bernard Giudicelli, for their support in her comeback.