Elena Dementieva Honored By Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

Lauren LynchCorrespondent IINovember 15, 2010

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Excerpted from www.TennisNow.com

Elena Dementieva retired from the WTA last month, but continues to be a significant winner even in retirement. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev presented the Order for Services to the Fatherland, IV degree, to Dementieva for her "major contribution to promoting physical fitness and sports" in Russia.

The 29-year-old Moscow native has been honored as a Merited Master of Sport in Russia.

Dementieva says the primary reason for her retirement is her desire to have children and start a family.

"I don't want to give all the details because these are very private, intimate things," Dementieva said in comments published by Reuters. "But I have to admit I've made a decision to quit mainly because I want to start a family, have kids."

There is speculation Dementieva will marry long-time boyfriend, 31-year-old Russian professional hockey player Maxim Afinogenov, and start a family. Some speculate the pair are already engaged. 

The former World No. 3 said reaching the decision to retire was difficult, but insists she will not return to the WTA.

"It was a very difficult and emotional but if I decided to quit that was it. I'm not coming back," Dementieva said.

Dementieva has always said family was a central foundation of her life, and three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters, who took time out from tennis to start a family, suggests Dementieva may be ready for motherhood. 

"The emotions with her mother—you see the bond that that they have (and) they traveled for so many years together—you have so many great successes, but also some bad moments in a career," Clijsters said. "To be able to share that with the person you probably care about the most (is special). She is ready for a new chapter of her life. She's probably gonna start a family and do all that stuff."