Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Ferrero retires from professional tennis
Juan Carlos Ferrero lost to Nicolas Almagro in the first round at the Valencia Open 500 and finished his 14-year career on the ATP World Tour.
The Spaniard cried as he received a standing ovation on court after the encounter.
"This is a very special week, a very emotional week," said Ferrero. "Today on court it was very emotional, but it’s been very emotional since the tournament started.
"There were two sides of the coin to playing against Nico," he continued.
"When I first saw the draw, I was really not happy because he was one of the few players I didn’t want to play. We’re best friends, we practise together, and Nico is also trying to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. I was really not happy, but then, the nice side of it is that I played my last match against a very important person for me, a great friend."
"It was an honor to finish my career playing you, I think you are a great champion," he told Almagro.
"I simply want to thank everyone for all their support, not just this year but throughout all the years I have played here," Ferrero said. "It's always been a very special tournament for me and this year even more so."
Almagro paid tribute to his friend.
"Maybe it was the most bitter win of my career as a great tennis player is leaving us," he said.
"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 announced he will be involved in the tennis with his academy and will be Almagro´s coach next season.
"There’s a good chance that I will be travelling with Nico to a few tournaments next year, maybe as a coach. It was nice to play my last match against him," said Ferrero, who was joined in his press conference by Almagro.
"I’ve always been a very competitive person and a winner, and I felt like I didn’t have it within me anymore," explained the 2003 Roland Garros champion, who reached No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings in September 2003. "It takes a lot to keep up with what the level is. I could probably still be around for some time, but because I’ve always been a perfectionist, I want to stop now."
Ferrero also commented that Lleyton Hewitt was the toughest player he ever faced, but Roger Federer was the player who impressed him the most.
“You feel that he can do anything and that you are missing that little bit,” said Ferrero. “He is the only tennis player who has made me feel inferior.”