"Really, just to be on court is so much my passion that I just want to do it as long as possible, for a number of years," she said. "It's not going to be a problem for me to have motivation."
On Wednesday night, after losing to Simona Halep in Cincinnati, Bartoli announced that she had played her last match; that years of battling injuries had taken their toll; that, just two months short of her 29th birthday, it was the right time to retire.
It was an announcement that was met with dismay, disappointment and overall, surprise. This was a woman who two days beforehand, said her body had told her she was ready to get back on court, who was excited about heading to the US Open as the Wimbledon champion.
Somewhere, something changed and the only thing to be said with any certainty is that Bartoli has always done things her own way. Just like Bjorn Borg, who walked away after losing to John McEnroe in the US Open final of 1981 and never played another grand slam event, this was a huge shock.
Amelie Mauresmo, the former world No.1 who has been working as a coaching consultant to Bartoli this year, didn't know it was coming. Nor did her fellow players. Only her father, the much-maligned Walter Bartoli, sensed something when his daughter called him to tell him the news.
"He understood; he even sensed it," Bartoli said in French, to sports newspaper L'Equipe. "He was not at all telling me, 'But no, you will continue.' Quite the contrary. He is very happy for me, for all I did. He is very proud and that is the most important."
Others have quit at the top - Pete Sampras never played another match after winning the US Open in 2002 (though he did not officially retire until 12 months later); Justine Henin was world No.1 when she quit for the first time in 2008 and Borg was still right up there when he walked away from the sport.
"It becomes an ordeal when I can't even really walk because I have so much pain in my Achilles tendon, or I have so much pain in my shoulder or my rib or in my lower back that I can't even serve after one set," she said in Cincinnati. "It all means that at a certain point, the body has its limits and I went past them. I was obliged to do so many times to make it, and I achieved the most beautiful goal of my life, my career. And now it's time to move on to other things."
Henin, Martina Hingis and even Kim Clijsters all came back and as the tennis world tried to digest the news, several predicted a comeback for Bartoli, too.
"What she did at Wimbledon was fantastic, but she will regret this decision when Wimbledon comes," said Goran Ivanisevic, who is playing on the ATP Champions Tour this week. "There is nothing like playing at Wimbledon as 'Wimbledon champion'. I couldn't defend - I was injured."
And Guy Forget, who knows Bartoli well from his time as Fed Cup captain, urged her to take her time before making a final decision. "I hope she is going to change her mind," he said. "My message would be: just don't rush it. Take time, go to the beach for a few days, go running in the park, just get your head together, spend some time with your friends.
"If you don't want to play next week, don't play. If you want to miss the US Open, fine. But just don't quit, don't take such a radical decision only a few weeks after winning the biggest tournament in the world."
Bartoli was one of the quirkiest players on the court and most interesting characters off it. She is strong enough to stick to her guns but if she wants to come back, then she will be welcomed back with open arms. Either way, it will be her decision.