Agassi said he hated it, but he played as long as he could until his back wouldnt let him play
I'm sure there are negatives with injuries and travel issues and stress of competition and expectations.
I dont see many healthy players retiring when they are healthy and still very good. Dementieva retired when she was still a YEC player and making deep slam runs. I cant think of many others who walk away early when they are still near the top
They were obviously pretty beat up by age generally, but Sampras never played another match after winning the US Open for his 14th slam win, and Graf had just gone 13-1 in the French Open-Wimbledon when she quit the sport permanently mid-match against Amy Frazier back in 1999.
Flavia Pennetta and Marion Bartoli are a bit different from Dementieva, in that they quit almost immediately after their career greatest achievement, while Dementieva was, arguably, better in the two years after her Olympic gold than she had been in the years prior, and was still a very real slam threat. I think Dementieva would have continued for a few years had she not gotten injured at the French Open that year. That really broke her spirit.
Henin walked away the first time out of nowhere and as world #1, just before the French Open, thus gifting Ana Ivanovic her career. Which nobody wants to say seems suspicious, but let's be real, it's pretty damn suspicious. Her 2nd retirement was prompted by physical breakdown, so it's less applicable, but the first one was legitimately at her peak.
Julie Halard-Decugis retired just after she won her only doubles slam, reached #1 in the world, and turned 30 years old. The US Open in 2000 was a really big moment for her
I think in the olden days (
), before the early 2000s, the grind of travel was tougher, and the money was lesser, so it was easier to make the decision to retire if you weren't going to be at full health, because the incentives weren't there.
Nowadays, Sam Stosur is still making nearly half a million dollars FROM SINGLES ALONE, and that's the kind of money that can make you get over your dislike of the grind of travel, etc.