From the news

Dementieva close to greatness

  • dgec
  • 03 November 2010
  • 05:11

As she heads into her first week of retirement, Elena Dementieva deserves to be remembered far more fondly than for a pitiful serve and a consistent failure to get over the line at grand slams.

Dementieva announced her decision to quit after the season-ending WTA Tour Championships in Doha, acknowledging it was time to pursue other interests in her life at the age of 29.

She leaves the sport having been a virtual ever-present in the women's top 10 since 2003 and with both an Olympic gold medal and an heroic Fed Cup triumph to her name.

Yet it is true that Dementieva will be remembered most for her inability to translate her status as a perennial contender into that of a grand slam champion - underlined by her two below-par final losses in Paris and New York in 2004.

At Wimbledon she twice reached semi-finals, in 2008 and 2009, losing the first in straight sets to Venus Williams but then going much closer to a place in the final a year later when Serena Williams won a deciding set 8-6.

Dementieva insisted: "I have no regrets. If it didn't happen, it didn't happen, but I have nothing to blame but myself. I was very professional and I have so many things to be proud of.

"I was far away from being perfect but I had a great fighting spirit. Even without a good serve I was struggling for many matches but I never gave up. You don't have to be perfect but you have to try very hard."

Dementieva won 16 WTA Tour titles in her career but her proudest moment came in the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she finally managed, to some degree, to shed her image of a nervous big-match player.

In an extraordinary run to gold, Dementieva came from a set and a break down to beat Serena Williams in the quarter-finals and went on to beat Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina to claim the title.

"I'm sure I'm going to remember myself as Olympic champion," added Dementieva. "That's the best thing that could happen in my career. It was my biggest goal, and I'm so proud of that moment."

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