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‘Super Mario’ calls time on tennis career


 

Originally published on: 23/02/11 10:51

Mario Ancic has retired from tennis at the age of 26 to focus on a career in law.

The former world No.7, whose big-serve and accomplished grass court game took him to the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2004, has spent much of the past four years – since he achieved his career-high ranking – struggling with injury and illness.

Drained by the debilitating mononucleosis, ‘Super Mario’ – as he was nicknamed after his 2004 Wimbledon run – was also troubled by persistent back and knee problems.

“I can’t stand it anymore, I have finished my career,” Ancic said on Monday. “I’m forced to quit because nature has decided it’s time. My back can’t withstand the effort of professional tennis.”

Fellow Croat Ivan Ljubicic was devastated for his compatriot.

“It’s terrible. I mean that’s the worst way for a sportsman to finish the career,” said the 31-year-old after being forced to quit his first round-match in Dubai with injury.

“Fortunately he has a law degree. He’s already practising that. His life, it will go on,” added Ljubicic, who partnered Ancic to Olympic bronze in 2004.

“Together we achieved so much at such early stages of our careers. It was just incredibly unfortunate to kind of finish it that way.

“I saw him in Zagreb just a couple of weeks ago. We are in touch all the time. I didn’t bother asking him too much how he was, because I knew the answer. It was not good, not good for the last three years.”

Ancic used that time to complete his law degree at the University of Split – in the city of his birth – which he completed in 2008, with a thesis on the legal foundation and organisation of the ATP Tour.

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