Elena Dementieva, the epitome of class, retires from the WTA tour.

Olympic champion and world number nine Elena Dementieva announced her retirement from tennis after her final match at the WTA Championships in Doha. The 29-year-old Russian delivered the shock news after losing to Francesca Schiavone in the group stages of the season-ending tournament.

Dementieva reached two Grand Slam finals during her career, at the French Open and the US Open in 2004. “This is my last tournament,” she told the Doha crowd. “Thank you to all of the people that I have worked with for such a long time. I would like to thank all of the players for an amazing experience. It’s very emotional. “I would like to thank all of the people around the world for supporting me through my career. And I would like to thank my family, especially my mum.” She added: “It’s so hard to say goodbye to all of you. I want you to know that I am going to miss you so much. Thank you.”

Dementieva enjoyed her greatest success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she beat Serena Williams, Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina on her way to the gold medal. She won 16 singles titles during her 12-year career on the WTA Tour and six in doubles, earning almost £9m in prize money. Born and raised in Moscow, Dementieva was a key figure as Russian players became a powerful force, in the women’s game especially, during the last decade.

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