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03 October 2013

Malisse ends career on home soil


Photo: Philippe BuissinXavier Malisse (BEL)

With tennis fans only just coming to terms with the departure of one of the game's more colourful characters - David Nalbandian - news followed that former Belgian No. 1 Xavier Malisse had also decided to retire from the game.

The 33-year-old famously reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2002, losing to that man Nalbandian, and was a fearsome opponent on the lawns of the All England Club as demonstrated by a further three round of 16 appearances at the grass court major.

He contested 15 Davis Cup ties for his country, helping Belgium to reach the World Group semifinals in 1999, when a last four clash with France proved a step to far.

“I liked the pressure of the game but I'm also relieved,” Malisse said after losing to Sergiy Stakhovsky in straight sets in the first round of the Mons Challenger on Wednesday. “Now I'm going to relax with my family and friends. It is hard to leave but we have to stop one day.”

Malisse reached a career-high ranking of No. 19 and made the last 16 at three of the four Grand Slams, the only exception being the Australian Open.

He had originally said he was going to end his career in Melbourne next year but decided to announce his retirement in front of home fans. 

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