With all the comebacks in 2010, we thought we would ask our tennis community who could potentially be a candidate for retirement in 2011? We have selected 6 tennis players from the ATP Tour (men’s tennis players) and have give reasons they have been considered potential retirees from the ATP tennis tour.
In no particular order of potential tennis retirement:
Radek Stepanek: Stepanek, hailing from the Czech Republic, began playing tennis at the young age of 3 years old with his father, who is currently a tennis coach. In 1996, he became a professional tennis player and had a career high of #8 in the world (10/2006).
Why could he possibly retire in 2011? Well, in tennis years, he is practically a grandfather at the age of 32. Secondly, he has not had much success in 2010, only winning 18 matches and no titles. In the majors, he has not made much of an impact in the main draws and had several early round exits during the year. In New Haven, Stepanek reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier and lost to Troicki. We could see Stepanek calling it quite for the primary reason of falling down the rankings and injuries. Our call: Retirement after Wimbledon
James Blake: Former top ranked American James Blake began playing tennis at the age of 5 with his older brother Thomas (former All-American at Harvard University). At the age of 13, Blake, was diagnosed with severe Scoliosis which had forced him to wear a back brace for 18 hours of the day. Blake became a tennis pro in 1999. Blake held the world #4 ranking (11/2006).
Why would Blake retire from tennis in 2011? If you remember, back in 2004, while having a practice session with fellow American, Robby Ginepri, somehow managed to hit the net post and fractured a vertebrae in his neck. He too is climbing to tennis grandfather status at his current age of 30. Blake has fallen extremely far down the ranking, currently holding at #135 in the world, a far cry from his #4 spot. In 2010, Blake had a dismal year, only winning 15 of his 32 matches and not capturing a single title. He has also been contemplating switching his tennis equipment from Dunlop tennis racquets to Head tennis racquets. With the ranking drop, injuries, and a lackluster of his tennis tournament play, any day he could announce his retirement from tennis. Our call: Retirement after the US Open
Arnaud Clement: #78 ranked in the world is French Arnaud Clement. Clement showed interest in tennis at the age of 7. He then began playing with more commitment with brother Bruno. Being ranked #10 in the world (02/2001), Clement was the first Frenchman to reach the final at the Australian Open since 1928 (Jean Borota).
Reasons for possible retirement? Like most on this list of possible retirement, Clement is also reaching tennis grandfatherhood at the ripe old age of 32 (will be 33 12/17) years old. He also had a rather bleak year on tour, only securing 16 of 40 tennis matches with no titles. He also suffered a first round loss in Australia to American James Blake (7-5, 7-5, 6-2), he later went on to finally snap his 5 tournament losing streak by making it to the second round at Indian Well. Clement has not been much of an injury liability – only injury was in ’03 with a wrist injury which sidelined him from tennis for a couple of months. He has also plummeted in the rankings, now positioned at #78 in the world. Our call: Retirement after the French Open
Ivo Karlovic: Our tallest possible retiree is Ivo Karlovic from Croatia. Being the tallest tennis player (6′ 10″) to rank in the top 100 in the history of the ATP, has made his presence known. Karlovic began hitting tennis balls at the age of 6 with his older sister, Anna, where he quickly grasped the sport and dedicated his life to become a professional tennis player. Karlovic has had a career high of #14 in the world (08/2008).
Why is Karlovic on the list of retirees? You guessed it, he’s at that age of tennis grandfatherhood! Beyond that, being so tall surely takes a toll on the body suffering a foot injury where he was forced to miss the French, Wimbledon, and the US Open (All in 2010). He has also had a disappointing year in 2010 with not one tennis title, even with a good match record (17-9). With his injury and so many missed tennis tournaments, his ranking fell down to #73 in the world. Our call: Retirement prior to the BNP Paribas Open Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, CA)
Ivan Ljubicic: Another Croat on our list of potential retirees is “baldy” Ivan Ljubicic. He too is on the grandfather list of tennis players, coming in at the age of 31 years old. Ljubicic started playing tennis in 1988, where a few years later, won his first tennis tournament as a junior. In 1992, Ljubicic and his family had to move from his hometown of Bosnia and Herzegovina because of the war in Bosnia. Ljubicic had a career high ranking of #3 (8/2009) in the world.
Our reasoning for a retirement from Ljubicic? Simply because he reaching the age of tennis grandfatherhood. He hasn’t been much of a injury liability over the years, and has done well in 2010 – winning the Masters Series 1000 at the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, CA over American Andy Roddick. He’s just getting old so that’s our reason. Our call: Retirement at the end of the 2011 tennis season
Lleyton Hewitt: Hewitt did not start playing tennis until the age of 13, he had previously played Australian Rules Football. Hewitt has not quite made it to tennis grandfather status just yet, though he is on the brink turning 30 in February of 2011. Hewitt, a two time grand slam champion (Wimbledon and US Open), has been a staple of Australian tennis, with his commitment to the sport, his Australian following is in the millions.
Why would Hewitt retire? With such a strong start to his tennis career, Hewitt has been plagued with injuries later in his career. In 2008, Hewitt underwent his first of two hip surgeries; after the first surgery, Hewitt had his preparation for the French Open affected dearly. He was unable to defend his ATP points, when he was unable to compete in the tennis tournaments leading up the to the French. However; despite the surgery, Hewitt went on to make it to the 4th round of the French where he lost a thrilling 5 setter to David Ferrer. The former world #1 tennis player, has slipped rather far in the ATP rankings, currently holding the #54 spot. In 2010, Hewitt won only 1 tennis title (Huston). Our call: Retirement at the end of the 2011 tennis season
Andy Roddick: Just so you all know, we are huge Andy Roddick fans, so it is with great pain to suggest that he will be retiring in 2011. Roddick showed interest in tennis, when his brother, John was a promising tennis star. Roddick lived in Florida where he played on the varsity basketball high school team. The former world #1 (11/2003) has won one grand slam tennis title (US Open 2003) and has appeared in 4 other grand slam finals, losing all to Roger Federer. Early in Roddick’s tennis career, he contemplated quitting competitive tennis at the age of 17, when he came across a long arduous losing streak in the juniors. Roddick has been in the top 10 for most of his career. Roddick is well known for his booming serves and on court outbursts against chair umpires – and breaking several tennis racquets during tournament play. In 2010, Roddick won 2 titles (Miami and Brisbane) and had a strong tennis match record with 48-18. Roddick is currently the top ranked American tennis player.
Why on earth would Andy Roddick retire from tennis? In 2010, Roddick has suffered several injuries, right shoulder, left knee, a twisted ankle, left hamstring, and a mild case of Mono. We know, that doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to call it quits, however; if you had watched the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championship Finals, you will understand that Roddick has taken a major blow to his ego. Losing a marathon match against his rival, Roger Federer, where Roddick had taken Federer to 2 sets all, only to lose the 5 set 16-14. Ever since that loss to Federer, there has been visible lackluster in his desire to compete at maximum capacity. Roddick did qualify for the 2010 ATP Barclays World Tour Finals, however; he either was not playing well or he didn’t want to be there since he only won 1 set in the round robin tennis tournament. Another factor for possible retirement is his bride, Brooklyn Decker. Now, we know it’s not an excuse for retirement, but with all the years of traveling and competing, wouldn’t it be nice to settle down with your supermodel wife and take it easy for the rest of time? After all, Roddick has tons of money and Decker isn’t doing too bad either. Our call: Retirement after the US Open
Alright, that sums up our list of possible retirees from tennis in 2011. We ask that you please take this list with a grain of salt, since there is no guarantee that any of the tennis players will actually retire; we just pointed out the more obvious tennis players who are nearing the end of their tennis ropes. Clearly, we hope that all of the tennis players will continue to play tennis and entertain us with their amazing skills, yet, ultimatly it is up to them if they want to continue.
If we missed any possible retirements in 2011, please leave a comment with who and why you think they would be prone to retire from tennis in the coming year.