Reigning Olympic champion and world number nine Elena Dementieva announced her retirement from tennis after being knocked out of the WTA Championships in Doha.
The Russian exposed her decision to a surprised crowd in Qatar after losing 6-4 6-2 to Italian Francesca Schiavone in the season-ending tournament.
During her 12-year career Dementieva won gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, reached number three in the world and lost in two Grand Slam finals -- the French Open and the U.S. Open -- in 2004.
"This year in Doha was very unique for me because it was my last tournament," Dementieva told the crowd.
Dementieva won 16 titles during her time on the women's tour and reached another 16 finals, winning just short of $14 million in prize cash. She broke into the top 20 for the first time in September 2000 and spent 328 weeks inside the top ten.
Her largest achievement came at the Beijing Olympics of 2008 when she beat Serena Williams, Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina on her way to the gold medal.