The odds that Marion Bartoli overcame to win Wimbledon this year as a No. 15 seed was remarkable enough to make it one of the more surprising yet warming championships in the Grand Slam history of women's tennis.
When the 28-year-old retired on Wednesday from the sport just two months removed from that career-defining accomplishment, though, the win took on an entirely elevated significance.
Wimbledon's official Twitter even paid tribute when the stunning development took place:
In this day and age of modern medical technology, training techniques and the like, Bartoli cited numerous injuries that she has been dealing with for an extended period of time as the reasoning for her retirement.
Not only did Bartoli have to weave her way through a difficult field at the All England Club, but she had to constantly maintain a high threshold for physical pain in her conquests on the court.
As it turned out, a loss to unseeded Simona Halep at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati was the final straw, just over a month after the phenomenal win in London.
Usually it is Bartoli who is able to grind back in matches from deficits, but after winning the first set 6-3, it was her opponent that mounted a rally and held strong, winning the final two sets 6-4 and 6-1.
Bartoli explained that her body simply couldn't do it anymore and that all she had left to offer was left on the court at Wimbledon. She has had pain everywhere after 45 minutes to an hour into a match for quite some time now, she said.
Discussed in the above video are the mannerisms and hyperactivity Bartoli was known for between points. Perhaps those can be better explained now, as she attempted to will herself through the agony that her job description demanded.
Her peers are appreciating what Bartoli made of herself in her playing days despite not being the most physically formidable force.
During ESPN2's telecast of Andy Murray's match in Cincinnati on Thursday, it was noted that Murray, who won the men's Wimbledon this year, praised Bartoli for being someone who truly maximized her potential.
That is something too few can claim, and it's only one of the many well wishes Bartoli has received. She's reveled in the support:
All of that perseverance culminated in winning arguably the biggest tournament in tennis, and it was clearly well deserved. Bartoli ascended all the way to No. 7 in the world, coming back from injuries to her left foot, right ankle, right hamstring and Achilles tendon (h/t ESPN via AP).
An accomplished 13-year career characterized by perseverance and mettle culminated in capturing one of the game's ultimate prizes.
The loss to Halep will not be how Bartoli is remembered. Her stunning, inspiring run at Wimbledon, her unconventional two-handed shots on both forehands and backhands and her unwillingness to quit will mark her legacy.
And in retiring, Bartoli definitely isn't quitting.
Rather, she is at peace with what she has managed to do in spite of her health impediments, and rightly so. With a Wimbledon title in tow and a gutsy performance for the ages to be proud of, Marion Bartoli won't soon be forgotten in women's tennis lore.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!