TENNIS

Former number one Ferrero bids farewell to the courts

Injury-hampered 32-year-old says goodbye at home tournament in Valencia

Juan Carlos Ferrero waves goodbye in Valencia after his defeat to Nicolás Almagro in the first round.
Juan Carlos Ferrero waves goodbye in Valencia after his defeat to Nicolás Almagro in the first round.MANUEL BRUQUE (EFE)

Juan Carlos Ferrero called time on his 14-year tennis career on Tuesday, following his first-round loss at the Valencia Open. The former world number one announced he would be hanging up his racket after his home tournament, which he won in 1999 and 2003, although he was scheduled to play in the doubles with fellow Valencian David Ferrer on Wednesday evening.

“It’s been a long time since I enjoyed myself so much on a tennis court,” said the 32-year-old, whose career has been hampered by injury. Nonetheless, the 2003 Roland Garros champion enjoyed an Indian summer on his favored clay courts, winning three titles in 2010 and claiming the Stuttgart crown last season. “I’m happy; it’s been a very beautiful story. I was a little worried about how I would play, but I enjoyed myself, especially in the first set and at the end with the warmth of the crowd.”

Ferrero’s opponent, Nicolás Almagro, described his 7-5, 6-3 victory as “the most bitter of my career.” The two are close friends and Ferrero is set to join Almagro’s coaching team next season. “A great tennis player is leaving us,” said the world number 12. “I hope he’ll be with me for a few weeks next year and I think we’ll have some fun. I still have a lot to learn from him.”

Ferrero won 16 career titles and spent eight weeks on top of the ranking after his French Open triumph in 2003 and subsequent US Open final appearance. He also reached the final in Paris in 2002, where he lost to Albert Costa.

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