Former tennis No. 1 Ferrero to retire after Valencia Open
Juan Carlos Ferroro is set to hang up the racquet (Reuters file)
Former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero will end his 14-year playing career after competing in his hometown Valencia Open next month.
Ferrero moved to the top of the rankings in 2003 and remained there for eight weeks after winning the French Open and reaching the U.S. Open final, where he lost to another recently retired former No. 1, Andy Roddick.
In 14 years as a professional, the Valencia native won 15 titles. Ferrero's last trophy came in 2011 on Stuttgart's outdoor clay courts, but since then he has struggled and slid to 111th in the rankings.
"It was a complicated decision to leave a world you have lived in intensely since six or seven years old," the 32-year-old Spaniard said. "But I have had a tough year and you start to notice that you don't have the same ambition and motivation."
Ferrero helped Spain win the first two of its five Davis Cups in 2000 and 2004.
"The 2000 Davis Cup is something unforgettable for all Spaniards. I was very young and little by little I realized how important it was both for me and the country," Ferrero said. "Winning a Grand Slam and becoming the world No. 1 are both unforgettable peaks of my career."
Ferrero followed Carlos Moya (1999) and preceded Rafael Nadal (2008) as Spain's three male players to have reached the world's top spot.
"What I will miss most is the competition, we (players) live for the competition. It will be difficult to fill the void in this new life I am going to begin now, but I have plenty of things to do," Ferrero said, adding he will dedicate his time to his tennis academy and hotel.
Spain Davis Cup captain Alex Corretja, Ferrero's teammate in 2000, said his retirement meant "the loss of a reference for a generation of players."