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Best Of 2023 Retirements: Americans Isner, Sock Hang Up Their Racquets
As we continue our review of the 2023 ATP Tour season, we look back at some of the biggest names who called time on their playing careers this year. Americans John Isner and Jack Sock lead Part 2 of this story, with Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Andujar among those featured in Part 1 yesterday.
Isner was the standard-bearer of American men's tennis for much of his career. The No. 1 American in the year-end Pepperstone ATP Rankings for eight of nine years from 2012-20, Isner finished inside the year-end Top 20 for the entirety of the 2010s.
The ATP Tour's all-time aces leader hit 48 aces in his final singles match at the US Open. The former World No. 8 closed his career with 16 tour-level singles titles and 489 match wins.
“I think I've overachieved. I never imagined myself having this much success for this long," said Isner, who turned pro in 2007 after winning the NCAA team title with the University of Georgia. “Of course, there's so many matches I wish I could have back, but I prepared in my mind as best as I possibly could for 17 years. I don't have many regrets, that's for sure.” Read Isner Tribute
A former Top 10 star in both singles and doubles, Sock reached a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 8 in 2017, a year in which he finished as the No. 1 American. The following season, he ascended to World No. 2 in doubles.
The American won four Grand Slam doubles titles (including one in mixed), and also won two Olympic medals at the 2016 Rio de Janiero Games: a mixed doubles gold medal with Bethanie Mattek-Sands and men's doubles bronze with Steve Jonson. The biggest of his four career tour-level singles crowns came at the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters, a triumph that clinched his place at that season's Nitto ATP Finals.
“To the 8-year-old boy who immediately fell in love with the sport of tennis. I hope I made you proud,” Sock wrote in an Instagram post announcing his retirement. “It’s been 14 years of memories I will never forget.” Read Sock Tribute
Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Brazil's Bellucci wrapped up his playing days this year on home soil in Rio de Janeiro. The 35-year-old won four ATP Tour singles titles and 200 tour-level matches in his career, which began when he turned pro in 2005.
“I feel happy and a little bit sad too,” the former World No. 21 said of his retirement. “Tennis was in my life for many years. It’s not easy to stop playing. But I’ve enjoyed myself so much, and my body is now feeling the years and the sacrifices I’ve made. It’s time to do something else, experience new things.”
In a conversation with ATPTour.com, Bellucci recalled how he persevered after a knee injury nearly led him away from the game much earlier in his career. Read Bellucci Tribute
The 36-year-old Frenchman opened his abbreviated farewell season with an Australian Open win, before finishing his career with defeat to eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon.
Chardy won his lone tour-level title in 2009 in Stuttgart and reached a career-high of No. 25 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings four years later in 2013. He also cracked the Top 25 of the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings, winning seven ATP Tour doubles crowns.
“It’s something special,” Chardy said of his career after being honoured at the Nitto ATP Finals. “You work hard your whole life. When you were young, your dream was to become a tennis player, and from the moment you start to play on the ATP Tour, the time flies so fast.
“I enjoyed my journey so much and I have no regrets. I just finished and I’m already coaching, I’m still on Tour. It means I really love tennis!” Read More
Chardy, second from right, was honoured alongside fellow recently retired stars at the 2023 Nitto ATP Finals. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
A Filipino born in Washington, D.C., Huey received an emotional sendoff at the ATP 500 in his home city. The eight-time tour-level doubles champion won his first ATP Tour title at the D.C. event in 2012.
“Growing up as a kid, I was like, ‘I’d love to be good enough to play this tournament one time,’ ” he reflected. “I ended up playing it a couple times, winning it once. So it was an absolute dream come true... It was amazing I played for 14, 15 years, so I had an amazing time.”
Huey claimed a personal-best three trophies in 2015 and hit a career-high Pepperstone ATP Doubles Ranking of No. 18 the following season. Read Huey Tribute
An eight-time singles champion on the ATP Challenger Tour, Klahn played his final tournament at a Challenger in his home U.S. state of California. Some of the American's fondest professional memories include playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon in 2018 and scoring a five-set win against Jurgen Melzer to secure his first major main-draw victory at the 2012 US Open in front of an electric home crowd.
“It never felt like a job to me to have to go and hit tennis balls and try to improve,” the former World No. 63 told ATPTour.com. “I've been very lucky for 11 years to play professionally. Not many people get to take their childhood passion and turn it into a professional thing. I am fortunate that I can say I did it.” Read Klahn Tribute
A six-time competitor at the Nitto ATP Finals, Marach was part of a prestigious group of recently retired players honoured at the 2023 season finale in Turin. The Austrian won 23 tour-level doubles titles and reached a career-high Pepperstone ATP Doubles Ranking of World No. 2.
“For me it’s very special,” he said of the recognition at the Nitto ATP Finals. “I have big emotions around this tournament... For me it has always been next to the Grand Slams as the biggest tournament in the world, I love to come here. They treat the players specially, and the best players get together in a final clash of the year. I always enjoyed the tournament and I’m happy to have my retirement here.” Read More
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