Ukranian tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov announced on Saturday that he was retiring from the sport at the age of 32 due chronic wrist pain.
“I hope I was fun to watch,” Dolgopolov, who reached a career high of 13 in 2012, told ATPTour.com.
“I never broke any tennis records, but I hope I played entertaining tennis for fans. My wrist injury happened in Australia [three years ago] after mis-hitting a return in practice.
“I felt pain, but nothing serious. I reached the Australian Open third round and returned to Europe, but I never realised that it would be career ending. I’ve tried for a couple of years, had two surgeries and I still have pain.”
Dolgopolov first made a significant breakthrough at Melbourne Park in 2011, with five-set comeback wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and World No. 4 Robin Soderling en route to his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final, which ended at the hands of Andy Murray.
“I needed to be in a good mood to play my best tennis,” admitted Dolgopolov, who finished in the Top 70 for eight straight seasons (2010-2017).
“It was as simple as that. Sometimes I was tired or in a bad mood and I really needed to want to compete. I needed to be healthy. If I wanted to compete, I always had good results at the start of the year. It was the will to fight and compete, and sometimes that didn’t happen. It was a feeling.”
He captured three ATP singles title and his only doubles title (with Xavier Malisse) came at Indian Wells in 2011.
When he played Djokovic on 14 May 2018 at the Rome Masters, Dolgopolov had no idea that it would be his final professional match. He underwent right wrist surgery three months later and began his recovery.
Another surgery followed. And despite numerous attempts to come back, Dolgopolov never returned to the tennis court.
“I am not going to return to the sport over the next five or 10 years” he said.
“I need to get away from tennis balls. I first picked up a racquet when I was barely walking. I now need some time off from the sport. At the moment, I think I will pursue a business career.”