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Leaving the professional tennis circuit: exploratory study of experiences and reactions from elite female athletes
  1. J A Young1,
  2. A J Pearce2,
  3. R Kane3,
  4. M Pain1
  1. 1Sport and Recreation Department, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Centre for Aging, Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sport (CARES), Victoria University, Melbourne
  3. 3Tennis Australia, Melbourne
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Young
 Sport and Recreation Department, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria 3121, Australia; janet_young7{at}


In 2002, Tennis Australia commissioned a report into the experiences of elite female past players on leaving the professional tennis circuit. Australian players who were in the top 800 of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) end of year rankings and who had left the professional circuit within the previous 15 years were asked by mail to respond to a questionnaire. The questionnaire asked players to describe their feelings about leaving the tour during the time leading up to leaving the tour to two years after retirement. The main findings of the study suggested that those who planned to leave the tour found the transition process easy, whereas those who did not plan to leave the tour found the process difficult. Most players (66%) did not regret leaving the tour, and, although the remaining players responded that they regretted leaving, none attempted a comeback. Tennis Australia has implemented strategies to assist current players on the professional tour based on the results of this study.

  • tennis
  • retirement
  • career transitions
  • life span development
  • female athletes

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  • Competing interests: none declared