American tennis player Nicole Gibbs has announced her retirement from the sport, revealing that she plans to enrol in Law school this Autumn.
The 27-year-old – ranked 172nd on the WTA Tour – achieved a career high of No. 68 in 2016, and claimed seven singles titles and five doubles titles on the ITF circuit.
Gibbs’ best Grand Slam performances saw her progress to the third round at the US Open and Australian Open in 2014 and 2017 respectively, but her career was put on hold following a cancer battle in 2019.
She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after her dentist had discovered a growth, and she underwent successful surgery to remove the tumour on the roof of her mouth.
The American, whose last Grand Slam appearance came on home soil at the 2019 US Open, took to social media to reveal news of her retirement on Monday.
“Facing down the barrel of an uncertain tour landscape for the coming years and a growing awareness that I was ready to move on to the next chapter, I re-enrolled to finish my one remaining year at Stanford,” Gibbs wrote on Twitter.
“While I often grappled with the possibility of a comeback, inertia seemed to pull me to a new future; one full of all the past-times I never got to fully enjoy when my life was so devoted to tennis.
“Being the type of person I am, I was uncomfortable with the idea of declaring an end to my tennis without a clear next step laid out in front of me. While I have yet to receive decisions, I have sent out applications to seven law schools with the intent to enroll this fall.
“My dreams and ambitions are continuously morphing and crystalising as I go through this transition, but I know I wish to work in public service; to give a voice to those who are institutionally silenced or sequestered to the margins of society.
“Whether this manifests as a career in civil rights, law, politics or writing, I am unsure. Getting comfortable with uncertainty has been the main lesson and challenge of this past year.”
Gibbs, a previous voice on global warming, equal prize money and gun laws, also paid tribute to her father, who played an instrumental role in her career.
“I never knew to imagine I might one day share the court with Serena and Venus Williams or Caroline Wozniacki – much less did I imagine discovering the privilege of considering them mentors, or even close friends,” she added.
“A special shout-out is also warranted to the team who were with me in the final days of my career – Marc Lucero and Danny Ciccolini are closer to family to me than coaches or even friends.
“Ultimately my story comes back to my father, a man who fearlessly dreamed that anything was possible for his daughter in a world that often wanted to tell her otherwise.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pursue tennis – a sport I admittedly wouldn’t have chosen for myself. Beyond the surreal experiences it has directly afforded me, I owe tennis, and therefore you, the entire life I have today.
“To all those unnamed above, to my sponsors and supporters, to my family and husband, to tennis fans, to tennis itself, thank you. I’m excited to find out what’s next.”