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Updated January 18th, 2024 at 15:33 IST

Danielle Collins announces her retirement looms after a 2nd-round loss to Swiatek at Australian Open

Danielle Collins moved quickly from losing at the Australian Open to being ranked #1 in the world to declaring that this would be her final season on the professional tennis circuit. She seemed to have an endless supply of energy.

Danielle Collins
Danielle Collins of the U.S. plays a backhand return to lga Swiatek of Poland during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park | Image: AP
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With her own kind of perpetual motion, Danielle Collins transitioned swiftly from an Australian Open loss to the world's top-ranked player to announcing this would be her last season on the professional tennis tour.

While Iga Swiatek was still doing an post-match, on-court TV interview, the 30-year-old American entered a small interview room.

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“This is going to be my last season, actually, competing,” she said soon after. “I don’t really know exactly when, but this will be my last season and I’m really looking forward to that.”

The 2022 Australian Open runner-up had just lost five straight games to surrender a 4-1 third-set lead against Swiatek, eventually going down 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in a 3-hour, 14-minute match on Rod Laver Arena.

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The conversational shift from the present to the future happened quickly, in response to the question: Are all losses created equal?

“At this point, I’m kind of at the end of my career and they don’t sting quite as much, to be honest,” she said. “I have kind of gotten to the point where obviously they matter and my career means a lot to me, but at the end of the day you either win or you lose, and that’s all there is to it.”

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Collins beat Swiatek in the semifinals here two years ago before losing the final to Australia's Ash Barty. That remains here major milestone. Since then, Collins hasn't gone past the fourth round at a major. Barty has retired and had a baby.

The second-round encounter against Swiatek followed Collins' first-round win over 2016 Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber, a three-time major winner. Swiatek was coming off a win over 2020 champion Sofia Kenin. Tough bracket.

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“Yeah, I lost 6-4 in the third to one of the best players in the world, and she played some great tennis,” Collins said, assessing her match. I "left it all on the court."

Swiatek was surprised by Collins' announcement.

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“We played so many tight matches. They were hard, so I don’t know if I’m going to miss that!” she said, smiling. “For sure she showed great tennis, really great passion and determination. I know she’s not done yet, but for sure I’m going to congratulate her for her whole career.”

Collins didn't have a conventional route to the elite tennis tour, playing collegiate tennis at the University of Virginia and wining NCAA singles titles in 2014 and 2016.

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Until her breakthrough run to the Australian Open semifinals in 2019, Collins had never won a match at a major — a run that included first-round exits at the U.S. Open in 2014, ‘16 and '18 and the French Open and Wimbledon in 2018.

At Melbourne Park that year, though, she beat then No. 2-ranked Kerber in the fourth round on a run that took out three seeded players. She also reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2020 and second week in the U.S. Open in 2022.

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Collins said with the ups-and-downs of being on tour and all the travel, “this is this is a really tough sport.”

“I have other things that I’d kind of like to accomplish in my life outside of tennis, and would like to be able to do that," she said. "Obviously having kids is a big priority for me.”

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Published January 18th, 2024 at 15:33 IST

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