Jurgen Melzer retires in Vienna | ATP circuit

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Jurgen Melzer watched an ace from Filip Polasek rush past his partner Alexander Zverev on Wednesday night at the Erste Bank Open, marking the end of the duo’s tournament. But the 40-year-old couldn’t help but smile.

This ace marked the end of the legendary career of the Vienna-born left-hander. Although Polasek and John Peers beat Melzer and Zverev 7-6 (3), 7-5, it was a perfect end for the home favorite.

“I saw it as a bonus, to be able to play one last home game,” Melzer told ATPTour.com. “Saying goodbye at home is special to me. This is where my career started, this is where I was very successful.

Melzer first competed in Vienna at the age of 18 in 1999, and he won his two biggest singles titles at the event in 2009 and 2010. It was only fitting that a local child could finish. his professional tennis career alone in the center. of #Glaubandich Court with his peers and fans applauding to show their appreciation.

Jürgen Melzer “/>
Photo credit: Bildagentur Zolles
The 22-year-old TBEN veteran has stayed on to sign autographs and take photos with fans old enough to remember his junior years – Melzer won the boys’ singles title at Wimbledon in 1999 – and others young enough to be born after reaching the Top 10 in singles and doubles.

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“I have always tried to be a good ambassador for the sport and to make the sport as friendly as possible. What I liked today are the last two days, [for those] playing on this pitch in the city, there weren’t many spectators, ”said Melzer. “But today they actually showed up and I got to say goodbye and that meant a lot to me… I will remember this one for sure.”

The southpaw has only played five matches this year – three-set losses at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open with various partners, an ATP Challenger Tour match alongside his brother, Gerald Melzer, and Thursday’s defeat in Vienna – because he became the sporting director for the Austrian Tennis Association in February. The 40-year-old has spent a lot of time on the pitch with 15 and 16-year-olds, one of whom has written a school essay on Melzer.

“When he showed it to me, I was [shocked] a bit because I didn’t expect it at all and they had to write about a well-known person in Austria. He chose me, ”said Melzer. “I’m with him on the pitch every day, but it also shows the kind of respect you’ve earned over the years and actually achieved something a youngster could write about.”

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<a href=Philipp Petzschner, Jurgen Melzer “/>
Photo credit: Julian Finney / Getty Images
Melzer’s list of accomplishments is long, and it includes doubles triumphs at Wimbledon in 2010 and the US Open in 2011 alongside Philipp Petzschner. The Austrian also remains the only player to have rallied in two sets against Novak Djokovic, which he did in the quarter-finals of Roland-Garros 2010.

But perhaps most notably, he spent 17 weeks in the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings and the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings in 2011. There were only 40 players who achieved the feat at different points in their careers. , not to mention the same weeks.

“I will always remember my match against Djokovic, I will always remember winning twice in Vienna, riding on Wimbledon center court with Philipp after winning the doubles. These are the sports memorabilia you treasure, ”said Melzer. “But I’m going to be taking a lot more of the ATP family with me after my career.”

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Over the past year, Melzer has had time to reflect on his career. More often than not, he recalled times with friends rather than victories.

“You think of all the stories, all the things that make you smile. I didn’t think so much about victories. It’s just the time you spent on the Tour, meeting all these people, being friends with some, getting closer to some, ”said Melzer. “These are actually the things that I will miss the most, neither winning nor losing.”

Melzer’s victory over Milos Raonic in Vienna in 2018 marked the end of his singles career. But after that he turned to the double. Last year, the Austrian qualified for the Nitto ATP final championship match with Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Even Thursday against the in-form team of Peers and Polasek, after a year with little match play, Melzer performed well on the pitch.

“This is what I wanted the most. When I played my last match, nobody said to themselves, “What’s he doing here again? Or that I’m just not on the same level anymore. Of course, I played better, but I also played less well in my career than today, ”said Melzer. “I always go out at a good level.