EXCLUSIVE: Tommy Haas on retirement and his upcoming appearance in London

Tommy Haas giving the thumbs up

Retirement has been hectic for Tommy Haas.

Since confirming he had hit his final ball on the ATP Tour in March this year, former world No 2 Haas has thrown himself into a tennis afterlife that has included enhancing his role as tournament director at the Indian Wells Masters event and playing in a host of exhibition matches in all corners of the world.

Haas’s final victory on the ATP Tour came when he beat the great Roger Federer at the 2017 Mercedes Cup in his German homeland, and he admits that was a perfect way to bow out.

“To play Roger on grass and beat him was certainly a memorable way to finish my career,” begins Haas, speaking exclusively to Tennis365.
Roger Federer and Tommy Haas

“It turns out that was the last match I won on the ATP Tour, so that’s a pretty good way to go out. I had some thoughts after that match to call it quits right there, but I had some commitments that I needed to fulfil and yet even during that game, I could feel that my body was giving me trouble and I was not ready to play the quarter-final a couple of days later.

“It was a reminder that even if I could hang in there with the top guys tennis-wise, there was no way I could stand up to it physically any more. It has been a good run, I accept the time has come now to do something else and it turns out there are lots of things I can do after my tennis career to keep me occupied.

“To play at the level I did at the age of 39 was very satisfying and it felt like the tennis strokes were all there when I was on court. The trouble was playing games every day and that was not possible any more. Once the body and movement go away, you have no chance to compete at the top level.”

The globetrotting existence he got used to in his enduring career is continuing this weekend as he will play in the Champions Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and he is relishing the chance to make his debut in an event that will also feature tennis great John McEnroe, Tim Henman and Goran Ivanisevic.

“Retirement has been good, it has been busy,” confirms Haas. “I probably didn’t think I would be this busy, but I have enjoyed the last few months and there is so much to look forward to in the future.

“You think your tennis career is over and what comes next, but I have adapted to the change well and physically it was the right time for me to stop.

“I pushed myself to the limit to try and come back to the Tour, but my body is just not in the place any more to play at the highest level day in, day out.

“In my final year on the Tour, it was nice to be able to play some of the events that are closest to my heart and also to play in front of my older daughter, which was great. She got to see me playing at the highest level one last time.

“I am also heavily involved in the Indian Wells Masters event and that is keeping me busy. We want to make it a better event, which will be tough, but we want to keep raising the bar and that is a big challenge for all of us involved in the tournament moving forward.

“Now I am looking forward to coming to London again. I have never been to the Royal Albert Hall, but every player who has been there tells me it is absolutely spectacular and I can’t wait to get there and experience it for myself.

“There is so much history with this venue both in music and in our sport with this event, so it will be a delight to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to be a part of it.”

Tommy Haas will compete at the Champions Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall on the 6th and 9th of December. Tickets are still available on www.championstennis.co.uk

Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer

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