It was inevitable but sad nonetheless that David Nalbandian has hung up his racket.
As a personal favorite of mine, David was one of the few players in the last 15 years that could play sublime tennis. When he was on, he was unplayable. His backhand goes down as one of the best of all time and his deft touch at the net and court smarts were a joy to watch.
In 2007, he captured back-to-back ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies in Madrid and Paris. Nalbandian defeated both Federer and Rafael Nadal at each event en route to the title. In fact he utterly destroyed Nadal in Paris. He was a Grand Slam performer and really should have picked up two. His final loss to Lleyton Hewitt in 2002 was disappointing but he was nervous. In Australia in 2006, he should have beaten Roddick and gone on to win the whole event. That year was the pinnacle of his career with a career high ranking of 3.
He was one of the few players that Federer and all the top players feared and respected during his prime and he had some great rivalries with Ferrer, Davydenko, Ljubicic and Roddick.
“I’ve had the fortune and the misfortune to meet basically two of the best tennis players of all time. That’s how I’ll summarise it for you, short and to the point. For me, it’s about Federer and Nadal. Roger broke all the records and Rafa is on the brink of doing it. To have shared that great era with them, to have won, lost and to have been at that kind of level has been an honour.”
Countryman Juan Martin Del Potro commented:
“David was a really good player. When he was fit he could beat anyone. He won big tournaments. We have lost a great player on the tour. I wish him all the best in the future.”
He has also established the David Nalbandian Foundation, which provides programs and projects for people with disabilities, oriented towards health and sports
He will play a series of farewell exhibition matches with Nadal beginning 21 November.
Reason to retire: Shoulder Injury
Career titles: 11
Win/Loss Record: 383/192
Career High Ranking: 3 (2006)
Finest moment: Beating Roger Federer in a fifth-set tie-break to hoist the Tennis Masters Cup trophy in 2005.
Famous For: Many things. Perhaps kicking a line judge at Queens but also reaching the Wimbledon final in 2002.
What Next?: “I don’t have any plan. It’s still too recent and tough to think about in the coming months.”
Watch: David Nalbandian’s Greatest Points
Read more: Tennis Enigmas: David Nalbandian