Schnyder calls it quits on bizarre career

Schnyder calls it quits on bizarre career

Published May. 28, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Patty Schnyder on Saturday called time on a 17-year career which brought 11 titles, 59 Grand Slam appearances and a family split caused by a bizarre relationship with an orange juice-obsessed guru.

The 32-year-old Swiss made her majors bow at Roland Garros in 1996 and suitably chose her 16th successsive French Open to announce her decision.

"It's time to close this chapter of my tennis career. It's very emotional," said a tearful Schnyder at a news conference. "I had always wanted to win a Grand Slam title, but that will have to remain a dream."

Left-hander Schnyder reached a career high of seven in the world in 2005, a year after she had recorded her best Grand Slam performance of a semi-final at the Australian Open in 2004.


But she hit the headlines as a teenager when she hooked up with Rainer Harnecker, a self-styled "natural therapist" who convinced her to adopt a vegetarian diet that saw her drink three liters of orange juice a day.

Her parents became so concerned for the welfare of their daughter, who by now was Harnecker's girlfriend, that they hired a private detective, Rainer Hofmann, to help out.

Schynder's story then took a new twist, worthy of any soap opera, when she split with Harnecker and eventually married Hofmann in December 2003.

"Sometimes you have no advice. Nobody knows what to do, how to help you, and then you have to decide," she said. "I grew up and I developed my personality. It's a tough life. Nothing is just given for free. But I know life can be tough. Life is very similar to tennis, and tennis is life."

Schynder failed to win a match on clay all year before losing in straight sets against Sorana Cirstea in the French Open first round. On Saturday, she admitted that time was catching up with her and the time was right to bow out.


Get more from tennis Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more

in this topic