BRATISLAVA - Women’s basketball fans in the Slovak Republic and right across Europe are fearful they may well have seen the last on-court action of the legendary Zuzana Zirkova after the 32-year-old announced she is pressing the pause button and putting her career on hold by skipping the forthcoming club season.
An iconic figure in her homeland, the stellar talented guard had been widely expected to shrug off the injury problems which have plagued her in recent times and step out again with Good Angels Kosice where she finished last season.
But, the veteran star has decided to take a break and that has left many worried she is not destined to return.
At least Zirkova has left the door ajar by stopping short of announcing her retirement, even if she would not confirm she definitely intends to tread the boards again in the future.
"I would not like to talk about the end of my career since I'm not saying I won't return to basketball as a professional player in a year,” she explained.
“Right now, it's open. But currently, I've decided to skip the upcoming season.
“I'm tired and during the summer, I tried to avoid basketball and integrate into a common life. Therefore I've decided not to play - I'm having a break from basketball.”
She added: “I'm not shutting the door on basketball definitely and I'm not saying I won't return to basketball again - it is still open.
“But, it's not going to be anytime soon.”
In addition to a wonderful career with Slovak Republic which started in earnest when she helped the team reach the Semi-Finals of EuroBasket Women 1999 when still a teenager, Zirkova is also a three-time EuroLeague Women champion. She landed the prestigious club title twice with Ruzomberok and once with Brno during a glittering career.
Her forthcoming sabbatical is a real blow for Good Angels Kosice although they have already stated they will welcome her back with open arms if she does re-discover the appetite to play.
"We had been waiting until the last minute for the decision of Zuzana and the door is always open for her at our club” said General Manager Daniel Jendrichovsky.
“Whenever she changes her decision, it would be very easy to persuade us to let her play for us again.
“We respect the current situation and after the announcement of her decision.”
Fans will no doubt be hoping they haven’t seen the last of Zirkova and she can return in 2013 for one last swansong for club and maybe even her country.
photo Getty Images