British tennis player Konta retires and grateful for career, speed skater Christie to miss Olympics

Johanna Konta dropped to 113th in the world and played her last tour match at the Cincinnati Open in August. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS, AFP) - Former world No. 4 Johanna Konta announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 30 on Wednesday (Dec 1), saying she was grateful she got to live her dreams as a professional.

Struggling for form and fitness this year, she dropped to 113th in the world and played her last tour match at the Cincinnati Open in August, suffering a first-round loss to Karolina Muchova.

The Briton withdrew from Wimbledon in June when a member of her team tested positive for Covid-19. She also missed the Tokyo Olympics after contracting the virus.

"Grateful - this is the word that I've probably used the most during my career, and is the word that I feel explains it best at the end," Konta said in a statement.

"My playing career has come to an end, and I am so incredibly grateful for the career that it turned out to be.

"Through my own resilience and through the guidance of others, I got to live my dreams. How incredibly fortunate I count myself to be."

Meanwhile, British short track speed skater Elise Christie, who is as well known for her crashes as her titles, is set to miss the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The former world champion has been hampered by an ankle injury this season and finished behind fellow Scot Kathryn Thomson in the World Cup qualifying events.

"The ankle injury I sustained set me back too far. My heart is shattered," Christie said on Instagram on Tuesday.

Only the leading point scorer from Britain is expected to qualify for the Olympics next February so the 31-year-old is set to sit out the Games.

Christie has become a well-known name in Britain after crashing out and suffering disqualifications at the last two Winter Olympics - and putting her feelings on public display after each setback.

British short track speed skater Elise Christie has been hampered by an ankle injury this season. PHOTO: REUTERS

Tennis star Konta achieved a career-high ranking of fourth in 2017 after reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals. She also made the last four at the 2016 Australian Open and 2019 French Open.

She reached the quarter-finals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, losing in straight sets to Germany's Angelique Kerber, who won the silver.

"Johanna's accomplished tennis career has thrilled fans in Britain and around the world," Women's Tennis Association chairman Steve Simon said.

"We wish her nothing but great happiness and success as she embarks on what I am sure will be a very exciting next chapter of her life."

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