Marion Bartoli on H1N1 vrius: I thought I'm dying

Updated: 04 July, 2017 12:12 IST | AFP | London

2013 Wimbledon champ-turned-commentator speaks of her battle with the deadly H1N1 virus

Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon in 2013
Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon in 2013

Marion Bartoli has battled back from ill health to be fighting fit for her role commentating at Wimbledon but the former French tennis star admitted yesterday she feared she would die.

The 32-year-old. who beat Germany's Sabine Lisicki to win the 2013 Wimbledon title, retired later that year and fell terribly ill. She told The Times she was battling the H1N1 virus, the swine flu bug blamed for wiping out millions in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, but was only diagnosed after Wimbledon last year. "I did not know if I'd wake up alive the next morning," she said while taking time out from commentating on the WTA tournament at Eastbourne last week.

Marion Bartoli during commentary duty recently
Marion Bartoli during commentary duty recently

Bartoli, who also reached the 2007 Wimbledon final, says her career-defining victory in 2013 came just at the moment she was physically falling apart.

"It was almost a miracle from God to win Wimbledon," said Bartoli.

"I was in the public eye and I could hear people talking behind my back and saying, 'Oh, she's anorexic' and I wanted to scream out and say, 'You have no idea what I'm going through'," said Bartoli, who went through Wimbledon 2013 without dropping a set.

"It was a battle to survive every day. I was scared of everything. I was not processing protein, I was losing hair and I love my long hair, my teeth were almost falling out, my skin was breaking down. I could not wash myself with normal water, I had arthritis. I was buying clothes for 14- year-olds."

Bartoli spent four months in hospital in Paris last year and then required daily visits from a nurse at her home in Dubai. She puts her illness down to battering her body from a very young age to succeed in tennis.

"I felt it happened for a reason. My body was reminding me that it has been going non-stop since I was eight years old until the moment I got ill," said Bartoli, whose immediate target is to focus on her personal life and her desire to find love. "I am starting to feel alive again and ready to build a love story, to start a family," she said.

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First Published: 04 July, 2017 11:40 IST

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