One of the most difficult decisions any athlete must make is the decision to retire. Sometimes the player makes the decision. Other times, the game makes it for them. Either way, it’s one of the hardest for any competitor to make.
In team sports, often times the lack of interest in a player will clue them in on whether to retire. In individual sports, like tennis, it can be a bit harder for the player to gauge when it is time to say goodbye. Here are four tennis players who should have retired sooner.
This Spaniard turned pro in 2001 and has compiled a fairly consistent career. He’s won seven tournaments without a Grand Slam title. Verdasco is currently ranked 37th in the world, which isn’t horrible, but is rather far from his career high ranking of seventh that he reached in 2009.
It’s not that Verdasco can’t play; he still can. But at the age of 35, he’s ancient compared to the rest of the tour. He’s playing well past the typical retirement age. Verdasco making 2019 his final year in the game wouldn’t quite be leaving while he was still ahead. But it’s better than leaving after he’s fallen too far behind.
Since turning pro in 2002, the 33-year-old Tomas Berdych has been ranked as high as fourth. He’s won 13 tournaments with a record of 639-339. He’s 12-6 this year with over $400,000 in prize money.
So why retire now? Berdych is ranked 110th in the world, up a few spots from his recent career-worst ranking of 112th. He has a winning record and has made a decent amount of money this season. It may be a good time to go out on a high note for the 16-year veteran.
At 54th in the world and 37 years old, the career of Feliciano Lopez has seen better days. Lopez went pro in 1997 and has won seven tournaments. He’s gone 480-438 in his career but only 7-8 this year so far. He’s been ranked as high as 12 in 2015, but that seems like ages ago.
When asked about rumors of his retirement, Lopez had this to say as reported by UBiTennis.net:
“The truth is that I have not thought about it. This year, my intention is to play all the calendar I had planned and we’ll see how things finish at the end of the year, if everything goes well and I have a ranking that allows me to play the Grand Slams and the most important tournaments, I’ll probably play one more year.”
Lopez isn’t playing terribly, but the writing appears to be on the wall. Based on how his career is currently tracking, it may make sense for Lopez to call it quits this year.
Croatian star Ivo Karlovic is a rarity in the tennis world – at 6’11” he towers over his competitors. Even rarer is that he’s over 40 and still playing tennis. He turned pro in 2000, which is when some of today’s top players were in diapers or close to it.
According to Karlovic, he’s in the best shape of his life. Karlovic has won eight tournaments in his career but hasn’t won since 2016. At his age, his retirement will be sooner rather than later as he’s ranked 80th in the world.
One big reason Karlovic may want to retire? He’s one of the few players with a winning record versus Novak Djokovic at 2-1. If he retires soon, he can keep that fairly historic achievement intact without running into Djokovic on tour again.