News

Exciting Future, Brilliant Past

Posted on January 8, 2020

Aviators celebrate Anna-Lena Groenefeld as she looks to her next chapter

When the San Diego Aviators drafted Anna-Lena Groenefeld to the team for the 2018 WTT season, we knew exactly who we were bringing on board: a seasoned veteran, experienced champion, and team player. In addition to five years’ experience in the league, Groenefeld’s résumé included being tapped to represent her home country, Germany, in two Olympic games, a dozen Fed Cup appearances, multiple WTA titles, and two Grand Slam mixed doubles championships. Now, after two consecutive years in Aviators Red and concluding the 2019 season tying her own career-high WTA doubles ranking of World No. 11, she has announced plans to retire.

Groenefeld, who married German tennis coach Ingo Herzgerodt in December 2018, made the retirement announcement via Instagram on December 5. In a post featuring a photo of her wielding a tennis racquet as a young girl, she wrote in both English and German, “This little girl had dreams! For the last 18 years she was able to live one of them! But now it’s time to hopefully fulfill another dream of having a family!”

Though early in 2019 there was some suspicion that it might be her last year on the tour, that certainly didn’t impact her level of play over the course of the year. Between February and August, she reached six finals, including the Italian Open, the Canadian Open, and the Cincinnati Masters with partner Demi Schuurs. In April, she and partner Alicja Rosolska won the title at the Charleston Open. Groenefeld and Schuurs ultimately qualified for the 2019 WTA Finals in Shenzhen in October, where they reached the semifinals.

Upon drafting Groenefeld in 2018, Aviators Coach John Lloyd couldn’t contain his excitement — or surprise. “I couldn’t believe that no one took her before we got her,” he said following the draft. “She’s one heck of a doubles player and I’m very happy that she’s on our side of the court and not against us.” She was the only player on the Aviators roster to return in 2019, when the team’s record of nine wins and five losses propelled the Aviators to the league semifinals.

Upon her announcement, Groenefeld received notes of congratulations and support from friends throughout WTT and the WTA. Coach Lloyd had his own words for her: “I’ll miss you Anna, fabulous player, but more importantly a lovely lady. Don’t be a stranger.”

We agree, Coach Lloyd! The Aviators are grateful to Anna-Lena Groenefeld for bringing her high level of commitment and professionalism to the team for the past two years. We wish her all the best in her retirement.

Share your own words and best wishes with Anna-Lena on Instagram and Twitter at @annagroenefeld.