LONDON – If it seemed a bit … odd that the All-England Club would bestow a singles wild card on Marcos Baghdatis, it all makes sense now.
The former top-10 player, who turned 34 last week, has announced this morning via Instagram that he’ll play the final tournament of his career on the lawns at Wimbledon.
Baghdatis played his first pro event nearly 20 years ago, a Futures in Nicosia, Cyprus when he was just 14.
Here’s his message:
“I wanted to take the time to write to you all and let you know that this upcoming Wimbledon will be my last tournament as a tennis professional. I am extremely grateful to the AELTC for granting me a Main Draw Wild-Card at the All England Club, and giving me a chance to say goodbye to the sport that I love so much and has been such a big part of my life for the last 30+ years.
“This decision was not an easy one. It has proven tough for me, especially physically, to come back to where I feel like I belong. Even though my mind wants to do it, the limits of my body have prevented me to maintain and play at a consistent high level as I expect from myself. Especially the last two years have been very difficult for me with recurring injuries and pain. Besides that, I have a beautiful wife, two young daughters, and a third child on the way and I could not be more excited to spend more time with all of them at home.
“Although I am sad to say goodbye to the sport as an active player, I am very excited for the next chapter of my life – I am going to be staying heavily involved in tennis in a number of capacities, so you will continue to see me on the tour.
“Lastly, there are so many people to thank who have been a part of this incredible journey with me, starting with my family first and for all. To all the people that have helped me become the person and tennis player I am today, I say thank you, especially to my Mum and Dad who supported me since the age of 3 to play tennis.
“Thank you for always believing in me and pushing me to become better. My team, my close friends, but especially the fans around the world. You made me feel welcome in each and every city and country I have ever been to, and your love, support, and energy is something I will truly miss. Thank you for this amazing run, I can’t wait to give it my all one last time in London!”
Family of … five
Baghdatis married former top-20 player Karolina Sprem in July, 2012.
(Also 34, but with the exception of one match, Sprem has been retired since April 2011).
Their daughter Zahara will be seven in October, and daughter India will be four in December. And, as he mentioned in his letter, a third child is on the way.
Career high of No. 8
Baghdatis reached his career high of No. 8 in Aug. 2006.
He has four career ATP titles, all on relatively quick surfaces, and notably reached the Australian Open singles final back in 2006.
In 2008, he was part of the craziest match (arguably ever) when he and Lleyton Hewitt played a five-setter that wrapped up at … 4:34 a.m.
Two years ago, the hurricane hit his body. He had ankle, foot, back and arm injuries and missed a lot of tournaments.
Baghdatis has played mostly on the Challenger circuit in 2019, winning one in Shenzhen in March. He hasn’t played since losing to Yunseong Chung of Korea, ranked No. 270, at a Challenger in Busan about six weeks ago.
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Baghdatis Wimbledon history
Baghdatis hasn’t had great results recently at Wimbledon. But during those big years when he reached his best ranking, he did well.
In 2006, only his second time in the main draw (he lost in the first round the previous year), he went all the way to the semifinals before losing to Rafael Nadal. Along the way, he defeated Andy Murray (who would later win it) and Lleyton Hewitt (who had already won it).
The next year, he beat David Nalbandian and Nikolay Davydenko before losing a tough, tough five-setter to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
In 2008, he reached the round of 16, where Feliciano Lopez beat him 8-6 in the fifth set.
Last year, he won his first round when Dominic Thiem retired. He then took Karen Khachanov to 7-5 in the fifth set before being eliminated.
Hopefully he can summon up that kind of fight for his finale.
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