After a very successful tennis career, the Polish Agnieszka Radwanska retires from professional tennis. The Poles don’t just let that happen silently. On May 21, 2019, a big farewell event will take place in Krakow, the birthplace and place of residence of Radwanska. Popular Polish artists and celebrities from television are making their appearance, but of course the tennis world is not to be missed either. For example, Caroline Wozniacki, Danish but with Polish parents, and German Angelique Kerber have made room in their overcrowded agenda to fight Agnieszka one more time. Now, however, in a demonstration competition, in which there will undoubtedly be more room for a cheerful note than during the regular WTA competitions of recent years.
Agnieszka’s popularity in Poland is enormously. She won no less than six times in a row (from 2011 to 2016) the WTA Fan Favorite Award. A prize that was set in 2009 and is won by the player who gets the most votes from the tennis fans. Her popularity is more than understandable. The Poles can rightly be proud of a player with such a record. She won a total of 20 WTA titles in the singles and also 2 in the doubles. In addition, in 2015 during the WTA final tournament in Singapore, where the best eight in the world compete for the unofficial world championship, she managed to win the title by defeating the Czech Petra Kvitova in the final. She has never become number one in the world, but she was close to it. From 2008 to 2016 (with the exception of the year 2014), she finished every year with a place in the top ten. In 2012 she achieved the number 2 position in the world ranking.
Moreover, and that too will certainly contribute to her popularity, Radwanska is a smiley and very friendly and charming lady. The Poles were more than happy when in 2013, partly due to the father of Caroline Wozniacki, Katowice was able to fill in the empty place on de WTA calendar that was caused by the ending of the tournament of Copenhagen. It gave the Poles the opportunity to come and see the game of their own stars, and in particular that of Agnieszka.
Initially, the Katowice tournament was played on clay, but that was only the first year. From 2014 the indoor tournament was played on hard court, a surface that suites Agnieszka better (her favorite surface is grass), so this change will not have been entirely coincidental. However, Agnieszka never succeeded in winning the Katowice tournament. During the last tournament in 2016, Arend Jan van Lint from Tennisphotoworld.com was expressly requested by the tournament organization to interview her the following year on the Tuesday evening of the tournament. Why? He visited the tournaments of Katowice mainly to make pictures and ever since 2014 he had only time for one interview during the week of the tournament. That had always been on Tuesday evening and it always turned out to be the lady who finally won the tournament: in 2014 Alizé Cornet, in 2015 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and in 2016 Dominica Cibulkova. We will never know whether or not this superstition could have helped the Polish with the title, because 2016 turned out to be the last year that the tournament was played in Katowice.
Agnieszka has had to store her rackets in pain. The body started protesting too much and should be subjected to too much and irresponsible violence for the game at the highest level. It is therefore understandable that Agnieszka gives priority to her health. But the tennis world will miss her. Never again the image of the lady who could go exceptionally deep down and then produce the most brilliant balls. We will miss her, though … she has said she wants to be involved in tennis in one way or another.
Below a number of photos of the best tennis star Poland has ever known. It was an honor to be able to make them.