11 Dec 2018

Erakovic confirms retirement

7:45 am on 11 December 2018

The New Zealand tennis player Marina Erakovic has retired from the game at the professional level.

Marina Erakovic (NZL), SEPTEMBER 29, 2008 - Tennis : AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships 2008, Womens Singles at Ariake Colosseum, Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Daiju Kitamura/AFLO SPORT)

Marina Erakovic in action in Japan Photo: Photosport

Erakovic has been battling a back injury and confirmed her retirement on Tuesday, more than a year since playing her last match.

The 30-year-old reached a career high singles ranking of 39 in 2012 and also was a prominent feature on the doubles circuit, reaching a best world ranking of 25.

Her lone WTA singles title came in Memphis in 2013, while she also racked up eight doubles titles,

"I am very proud to have been one of New Zealand's leading athletes, and to have represented my country.

"Playing in 53 countries and visiting countless cities as the lone Kiwi tennis player has not been easy, but it has meant that I have had the fortune of making lifelong friends from every corner of the earth. This has truly been an incredible experience.

"In sport as in life, nothing is ever a smooth ride. Over the last few years my body struggled to handle the demands of Tour life and it became too difficult to play at a level of which I am normally capable.

"I decided to give my mind and body a break this year in 2018, and after a lot of recovery and reflection I have decided to put the racquets away."

WTA chief executive and chairman, Steve Simon, said Erakovic had been a strong contributor during her time on tour.

"Marina's positive impact on the WTA during her career was felt not just on the court, with an incredible nine titles, but also off the court.

"As an elected member of the WTA Players' Council for four years, she dedicated her efforts to serving the WTA athlete body from 2015 to 2018 and will leave professional tennis as a much-respected ambassador for the sport."

Erakovic was born in Croatia and emigrated to New Zealand at the age of six with her family.

She was just 15 when she became the country's top ranked player and reached fifth in the world as a junior, winning the US Open junior title.

Erakovic said she was looking forward to whatever lay ahead.

"Tennis will always be a part of my life, but for now I want to step out of that world and experience new things.

"Throughout my career I have been chipping away with my studies and so far I have completed two thirds of an economics degree through Massey University.

"I have one year left to go and I will be finishing this next year at the University of Auckland. After this, I am open to all new possibilities."