WATCH: Tearful Pablo Andujar might have just played his last ever shots
It was a tear-jerking moment for Pablo Andujar and his fans as the 37-year-old Spaniard said a possible farewell to tennis after his loss in the Barcelona Open round of 64.
The Spaniard has recently stated that he is considering retiring from the world of tennis and played what could have been some of his last-ever shots at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
Andujar savoured his time out on the court, enjoying every shot he played against Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the round of 64. Even though the Spaniard suffered a 6-2, 7-5 defeat, he was still happy to have played in such a memorable tournament.
“I’ve been coming here since I was little with my tennis club to see the only professional tournament we had near us,” the 37-year-old told the crowd.
“To me, it’s a dream that the same tournament is paying tribute to me today. I’ve played here 11 times. To me that’s incredible. I can only say thank you, a thousand thank yous, for having invited me and given me this opportunity.”
The Spanish star began his professional career in 2003, at the age of 17, and he won four ATP Tour titles over his career. His first title came at the 2011 Casablanca Open, where he defeated Potito Starace 6-1,6-2. He then defended his title in the 2012 Casablanca Open, defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 1-6, 6-7 (5-7) to retain his throne.
He then had to wait until 2014 for his next top-level title as he defeated Juan Monaco 3-6, 5-7 to win the ATP Gstaad tournament. The final trophy of his career came in 2018 at Marrakech, where he defeated Kyle Edmund 6-2, 6-2.
“I’m leaving very happy. I’m empty, I have nothing more to give,” admitted the Spaniard, after his Barcelona Open loss.
“Since last year, my head has been saying ‘stop’, I had other priorities. Above all, when I came back from the injury [in 2018], I made a huge effort and I felt it. I’m quite old, despite the fact that I have older colleagues and they are still playing at a great level. I didn’t think I’d be playing great tennis at 37.”
However, the Spaniard has made it clear that he would like to compete in the ATP Challenger Tour in Valencia as a final goodbye to tennis.
“Honestly, I want to play my last match at the ATP Challenger in Valencia. That will be the real goodbye,” Andujar announced.
“I don’t have a high ranking on the tour, any invitations would be welcome, I’ll keep training, but I now have different priorities. If this is my last match, I’d happily accept it. If they were to give me an invite, it’ll be in places where I’ve had memorable experiences, and Barcelona is one of those places.”
The next steps for Andujar will still see him involved in tennis, as he has ties with the ATP. Moreover, the Spaniard was already an ATP Player Advisory Council member in 2021 and 2022. However, he will become one of four player representatives on the expanded ATP board this year.
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