NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli offered the first hint that her shock retirement may not be quite as final as she first indicated when she hinted on Sunday she could make a comeback.
The 28-year-old stunned the tennis world earlier this month when she announced she was quitting just months after breaking through to win her first grand slam.
The Frenchwoman, speaking in New York, left open the possibility that she could possibly make a return next year.
"You never know what is going to happen," she told reporters.
"It's pretty hard to say I will never come back."
When Bartoli made her shock announcement earlier this month, past and present players immediately urged her to have a re-think, suggesting she take a break before making any rash decision she may later regret.
On Sunday, Bartoli revealed she had asked the Women's Tennis Association not to take her off the rankings list, but said it was more out of curiosity than anything else.
"I just wanted to see where my ranking would end up at this year without playing any more. We'll see where it takes me," she said.
Bartoli achieved her lifetime dream in July when she defied the odds to win Wimbledon after injuries had ruined the first six months of her season.
She said her body needed a break and she wanted to try new things in life but would remain involved in tennis in some capacity. She will attend the U.S. Open, starting on Monday, as a television commentator.
"It's hard for someone from outside to understand, starting from six years old and when you have to hit, probably, two million balls before being a pro tennis player. I'm the only one who can make the call," she said.
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Gene Cherry)