Amidst all the excitement generated by the recent emergence of Laura Robson and Heather Watson it would be easy to overlook the contribution made by Anne Keothavong, who has announced her retirement.
The last 20 years have been a particularly lean spell for the women's game in Britain, but in Keothavong Britain found a player who at least competed regularly on the highest stage. When she reached her career-high position of No 48 in the world rankings in 2009 Keothavong was the first British woman to break into the top 50 for 16 years. In the same year she reached the semi-finals at the Warsaw tournament, which was the best result by a British player at a Premier level clay-court event since Jo Durie made the last four of the French Open in 1983.
In total Keothavong reached seven semi-finals on the main tour without ever reaching a final. She won 20 singles titles on the International Tennis Federation circuit and eight in doubles, while she was also a mainstay of Britain's Fed Cup team.
With more consistency Keothavong might have gone on to enjoy an even more successful career. However, she always showed great professionalism, particularly in making two comebacks from major knee surgery. Her longevity was demonstrated by her 13 consecutive appearances in the main draw at Wimbledon, though the US Open was the scene of her best run at a Grand Slam event when she made the third round in 2008.
Having realised a lifetime's ambition by competing at last year's Olympics, Keothavong has slipped down the rankings in the last 12 months. Her retirement at the age of 29 is no surprise given that media opportunities have opened up for her recently. Later this year she will be joining the team covering tennis for BT Sport.
“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,” Keothavong said. “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."Reuse content