Rafael Nadal and other stars who may be announcing their retirement in 2024
Retirement from tennis is certainly a tough pill to swallow. For players, it’s their final chapter; the culmination of years of sacrifice and hard work.
We are often excited by the prospect of the ‘next best star’ in tennis, but it is also important to shed light on those who have served the sport and those who may be nearing the end of their careers.
Join us here at Tennishead as we take a look at some of the legends who are likely to be bidding farewell to professional tennis over the 2024 season.
Tennis has been blessed with greatness over recent decades and a large part, or shall we say a third, of that greatness comes in the form of a tenacious talent from the island of Mallorca.
It’s becoming ever more probable that Rafael Nadal will follow in the footsteps of his great Swiss rival Roger Federer at the end of the 2024 season and bid farewell to the sport.
After just under a year of recovery from a hip injury, the 22-time major champion was welcomed back to top-flight tennis this January in Brisbane.
The 37-year-old reminded his peers of the level he is still capable of, securing two dominant wins before picking up a muscle tear which has forced him back on the sidelines.
His professional return is set to be postponed until the red dirt season and, if he chooses to draw the curtain, ending such an illustrious career after the European clay-court swing seems like a fitting way for the ‘King of Clay’ to bow down.
At the 2019 Australian Open, it looked as if Andy Murray was putting a lid on his storybook career – a career which has spanned over three decades and saw him claim three grand slam crowns.
Although no matter how hard he tried to leave it all behind, the grit and determination which is synonymous with his name repeatedly pulled him back to the court.
Fast forward over four years and Murray might just be nearing the end of his toll – this time for good.
The 36-year-old, with two hip surgeries to his name, has struggled to keep up with the physical nature of men’s professional tennis.
Enjoyment is the biggest factor which will ultimately play in deciding Murray’s fate at the end of the 2024 season and, if he is to experience yet another frustrating year on tour, the former world No.1 may well put an end to his playing career.
A mere 24 years after winning her maiden grand slam title at Wimbledon in the year 2000, Venus Williams is still playing professional tennis, and even managed to win some tour-level matches last season.
It’s been nothing short of a herculean effort for the 43-year-old to reach this point in her career, becoming the oldest player ranked on the WTA Tour, but it may be a good time to retire the racket.
The 2024 season presents Venus with an opportunity to join her sister Serena, with whom she shaped the women’s game throughout the 21st century, in retirement.
She has nothing to be ashamed of in hanging up her boots – she has soared to great heights of the sport, won pretty much everything, and most importantly, she has inspired multiple generations of women to pick up a racket themselves. Now it’s time to take a step back.
43-year-old Venus Williams has just beaten the number 36th ranked player in the world after a brutal three hour battle!
Greatness is permanent ?? pic.twitter.com/Zlv9HaeBeG
— Eurosport (@eurosport) June 19, 2023
Growing up as a Swiss tennis sensation was always going to be tough when a certain Roger Federer was around, but Stan Wawrinka still managed to earn legendary status within the sport.
The former world No.3 came agonisingly close to taking home the trophy in Umag last year, his first tour final in over three years after being hampered by injuries.
This has given him the confidence he needed to admit that he can claim another ATP title before retirement.
Whether or not that is the case, Wawrinka has won the hearts of many in the tennis world.
But at 38 years of age, the clock is ticking and his career, which has seen him claim three grand slams, appears to be winding to a halt.
The women’s tour has been host to a multitude of early retirements in recent years, from Ash Barty at 25 to Anett Kontaveit at 27. Could 30-year-old and former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza follow in their footsteps this year?
The Spaniard is currently on an indefinite break from tennis with no intention of returning to the court anytime soon after 11 months off.
Muguruza has experienced success at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and more recently at the WTA Finals in 2021, but has seemingly fallen out of love with the sport in recent times.
Despite confirming that she will make a comeback to the sport at some point, fans would not be surprised if she were to announce her retirement this year.
When players take time off, whether it be out of choice or through injury, one of two avenues will follow. Either, they become frustrated with the time off, which activates a drive inside them and provides them with motivation to come back stronger. Or, they end up losing interest or affection in the sport that they were once enamoured in.
Richard Gasquet was among some of the household names in tennis that flirted with the idea of retirement from the sport last season.
The gifted Frenchman, known for his flair and one of the most elegant one-handed backhands, has been as high as No.7 in the world rankings, but is currently experiencing his greatest dip in form yet.
He kicked off 2023 in epic fashion as he claimed the title in Auckland. But since then he has struggled to succeed at tour-level – a difficult period which has seen him turn to the Challenger Tour in search of the revitalisation that his tennis career needs.
Unfortunately, this shift has been to no avail and the 37-year-old now faces some difficult decisions which will make his fate on the tennis scene much clearer to the wider eye.
Angelique Kerber made headlines with team Germany this January as they claimed the United Cup in the first tournament of the season, but the three-time grand slam champion picked up just one win from her five singles matches over the week.
It will understandably be a slow start to the campaign for the 35-year-old, who is returning to tennis after an 18 month lay-off during which she gave birth to her daughter Liana.
The former world No.1 is now at a crossroads in her career; she will of course be motivated to resurrect the form which guided her to three major titles, but faces a daunting challenge post-birth, especially considering her age.
The beauty of motherhood that comes with retirement may ultimately trigger Kerber to bid farewell at the end of 2024 to a sport on which she has left an indelible mark.
From: Team Germany???
To: You! ?
— ATP Tour (@atptour) January 7, 2024
Read >> World’s best tennis magazine