In a year when former No. 1s retired from tennis, players from the sport’s previous generation are gathering in London this week for the next stage of their tennis careers: the senior tour. In interviews, three of them offered advice for the likes of Andy Roddick, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Kim Clijsters, who retired this year, plus 30-somethings like Roger Federer and David Ferrer, who have no retirement plans but will have to defy the sport’s harsh aging curve to stick around much longer.
After playing a pair of matches at the Statoil Masters Tennis tournament at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday, Fabrice Santoro said there were three ways tennis players could retire: forced by injury, forced by bad results or on their own terms. Santoro, who turns 40 on Sunday, is content that he is in the third category, after making a record 70th appearance at a Grand Slam tournament at the 2010 Australian Open and then retiring from the game. “I am 37 years old,” Santoro said he told himself. “It is time for me to take care of my body, spend more time at home, with my daughter, with my friends, with my family.” He added: “Tennis is not a job for life.”
The irony of saying this while he was participating in a tennis tournament wasn’t lost on Santoro. “What I am asking from my body is not the same at all as what I was asking before,” he said. He added that playing tournaments motivates him to stay healthy and fit, and to try to win, “but the results are not as important as before.”
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