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2012 Tennis Retirements
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Tennis players hang their racquets every year, but there are a few whose memories are etched in our minds forever. 2012 was no different with some beloved players giving their last shot to professional tournaments. Some of them were -
Rainer Schuettler – The former World No.5 from Germany is a former Australian Open finalist and a former ATP World tour Finals semi-finalist. In 2003, Schuettler became the first German since Boris Becker in 1989 to advance to the fourth round at all Grand Slams. Alongside countryman Nicolas Kiefer, the German also took the silver medal in doubles at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Schuttler was known for his consistency and his great ability to draw errors from his opponents.
Fernando Gonzalez – Another former Top -5, Gonzalez was best known for his hellacious forehand that was probably the fastest in the circuit. A former junior World No.1, the Chilean made the quarter-finals of all the Grand Slams, including a finals stint at the Australian Open. Gonzalez won 11 singles and three doubles titles on the pro circuit, and gathered three medals at the Olympics: the bronze in singles and the gold in doubles in 2004, and the silver in singles in 2008. Struggling with injuries for more than a year before deciding to retire, Gonzalez played his last event in Miami in March.
Ivan Ljubicic – The Croat was ranked as high as No.3 in the World was known for his spectacular serve backed with a sensational backhand. During his career Ljubicic won 10 singles titles, including one ATP 1000 Masters Title at Indian Wells in 2010, and went past the fourth round twice in Grand Slam tournaments, reaching one quarterfinal at the Australian Open and one semifinal at the French Open. The Croat partnered Mario Ancic to a bronze medal in doubles at the 2004 Athens Olympics and also started in Croatia’s Davis Cup win over the United States in 2005. Ljubicic served as the ATP Players' Council president and in 2008 became one of the few active players to serve on the ATP Board of Directors. The last professional tournament he featured in was the Monte-Carlo Masters.
Arnaud Clement – The player who made wearing shades famous (though they were prescribed). A former World No.10 in the World, Clement shot to fame when he reached the finals of the Australian Open in 2001. A counterpuncher by nature, the Frenchman had a bag full of tricks that he used to outperform his opponent. He won the doubles title at Wimbledon in 2001 and also won 4 singles titles. Until 2010, Clement held the record for the longest match in the history of the Open Era. At Roland Garros 2004, Fabrice Santoro defeated Clement in six hours and 33 minutes. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut would eventually beat this record six years later at Wimbledon.
Andy Roddick – One of the most high profile retirements this year saw America’s own son Andy Roddick signed off from professional tennis at the US Open. A former World No.1, Roddick redefined the meaning of serves, serves that blazed on the tennis court. With over $ 20 Million in prize money, Roddick won 32 titles on tour including five ATP 1000 Masters and 1 Grand Slam. He was unlucky not to have won a Wimbledon title as he lost all the three finals he reached to Roger Federer. He won the Davis Cup for the United States in 2007. Following a fourth-round defeat to Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open, Roddick retired from the sport with the aim of focusing on his foundation in future years.
Juan Carlos Ferrero – A former World No.1 and former Roland Garros champion, Ferrero was nicknamed ‘the mosquito’ for his ability to run down most of the balls courtesy his speed. A clay court expert, Ferrero in an interview expressed his preference for hard courts over clay. He added 16 titles to his name including 4 ATP Masters 1000 titles. He also was a part of the Davis Cup winning team thrice and was considered as a reason for the revolutionized change in Spanish tennis. He decided to throw in the towel at his home tournament at the Valencia Open.
Kim Clijsters – The Belgian held the No.1 rank in both singles and doubles and was a four times
singles Grand Slam champion and a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion. She also won the season-ending championships thrice and was termed as the ‘Super Mom’ of tennis. Known for her splits and a great will to win, Clijsters retired from professional tennis in 2007 and then made a strong comeback in 2009. Clijsters announced her second retirement after the completion of the 2012 US Open.
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