Former British Number One female tennis player Anne Keothavong has today announced she is to retire from professional tennis and will be joining BT Sport’s tennis coverage team later this year.
Anne, 29, won a total of 20 International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles titles, eight ITF doubles titles and made seven WTA semi-final appearances. She reached a career-high singles ranking of world No. 48 in early 2009, the first British woman in 16 years to crack the world’s Top 50.
In Grand Slams her high point was reaching the third round of the US Open in 2008 and while at Tour level, she reached the last four of 2009 Warsaw, the best British result at a Premier level clay court event since Jo Durie was a semifinalist at the 1983 French Open.
Keothavong’s career longevity was evidenced in 13 consecutive main draw appearances at Wimbledon despite her career being threatened by serious injuries to each knee.
Anne commented: “I have given my decision a lot of thought and I believe this is the right time to move on to the next stage of my career. I have had some magical moments along the way and I would like to thank my family for their unwavering support and encouragement, the LTA for their fantastic backing, my coach Jeremy Bates and also Nigel Sears who have both been very influential in my tennis career and of course, the great tennis fans in Britain and all over the world.
“I think I am leaving tennis in excellent shape with both Laura Robson and Heather Watson leading the way for Britain in the women’s game. I am now focussing on my exciting new challenge with BT Sport where I hope I can provide insight and analysis for tennis fans.”
Roger Draper, LTA chief executive, said: “Anne has been a true ambassador for British Tennis, both on and off the court during her entire career. Always proud to represent Great Britain internationally, her determination shone through in 2008 and 2009 when she broke into the Top 50, becoming our best player since Jo Durie in the process. Anne’s courage was evident in coming back from not one, but two challenging knee surgeries. A journey that began on the Park courts of Hackney led to her being an inspirational role model for young girls everywhere, as well as to our current generation of players. We wish her well in the next chapter of her life. “
Judy Murray, Britain’s Federation Cup Captain, said: “It’s been a real pleasure for me to work with Anne as part of the Fed Cup team. You couldn't ask for a better, more committed team member - a great professional who represented her country with huge pride and passion. She's a fabulous role model for the young players and a lot of fun too. I'll miss her fashion advice as well as her presence but I'm sure she has a very bright future ahead of her."
Anne will join Lynsey Hipgrave, former British Number One Sam Smith and tennis legend Martina Navratilova to cover the 21 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tournaments for BT Sport including the five Premier WTA tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing and Istanbul.
Simon Green, director of BT Sport, said: “We are particularly pleased to have signed up Anne for our tennis team. She’s straight off the court and I am sure that will give her fantastic insight into the mentality and performance of her fellow professionals on the tour. Anne has been at the forefront of women’s tennis in the UK for years and can give the viewers the benefit of her experience and knowledge of both her fellow British stars, like Heather Watson and Laura Robson, as well as the current top-ranking players.”
BT Sport will show 38 exclusively live football matches from the Barclays Premier League – including 18 “top pick” matches - and all 69 live rugby matches from the Aviva Premiership, of which BT will be the sole and exclusive live broadcaster.
BT Sport will offer hundreds of top flight live matches from football leagues around the world including Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, Australia and the US. It will also show live football from the Scottish Professional Football League top flight plus 10 Rangers matches, FA Cup ties for the next five seasons, including the final, as well as live coverage from the UEFA Europa League, the Football Conference and the FA Women’s Super League.