This investigation used qualitative techniques to identify and analyze the experiences of elite female tennis professionals and their perceptions of their competitive years and subsequent retirement from the sport. Through a system of networking and snowball sampling techniques (Babbie, 1986), 28 athletes who had played on the professional tennis circuit were contacted and asked to complete an extensive semistructured questionnaire; 20 completed questionnaires were returned. The questionnaire asked players to recount their earliest expectations and goals in competitive tennis, their experiences and perceptions during their most competitive years, and their reasons for and reactions to retirement from the tour. In general, results indicated that the athletes did not find disengagement from their competitive years traumatic, but rather found it as an opportunity to reestablish more traditional societal roles and lifestyles.
Direct all correspondence to Maria T. Allison, Department of Leisure Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287.