Aspelin Retires From Professional Tennis
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Simon Aspelin called it a career Sunday at the SkiStar Swedish Open, after appearing in his 33rd doubles final. The 37-year-old Swede and Andreas Siljestrom finished runner-up to Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau, who took the match 6-3, 6-3.
The Swede turned pro in 1998 after graduating from Pepperdine University, where he was a four-time All-American. He won his first of 12 titles at the Open 13 at Marseille in 2000 and reached a career-high doubles ranking of No. 7 in March 2008.
At Wimbledon this year, Aspelin and Paul Hanley pushed World No. 1 Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan to the brink of defeat in a third-round battle, before the Americans won the final set 16-14. Aspelin was appearing in his 47th consecutive Grand Slam event, dating back to the 2000 Australian Open.
ATPWorldTour.com sat down with Aspelin on Sunday, where he reflected on his career.
Simon, what is your immediate reaction? You had a great week getting to the final. How do you feel?
I’m happy. Of course I’m a little bit disappointed after losing the final. The feelings are mixed but I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time so I can settle down and spend more time at home. I haven’t quite decided what I want to do later in the year, but right now, I just want to relax for a few weeks
When did you come to a decision to end your tennis career, and why now, during the middle of the year?
I was feeling it at the beginning of this year… I thought I might just play until the Swedish Open. But I wanted to see how the season started for me. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to change my mind. Today, the decision feels right. I was hoping to have some good results in the beginning of the season so that I would have been in a position to play in the [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000 events, playing a full season, but it didn’t work out that way. Playing up to the Swedish Open is good timing for me, because now I can spend the summer at home and just relax at home with my friends and family.
In 2007, you won the US Open, and reached the final of the year-end championships with Julian Knowle. Were those your two biggest highlights on tour?
I think so definitely. Winning a Grand Slam is the biggest thing you can do as a tennis player. And also the silver medal at the Olympics in Beijing with Thomas Johansson. I think those two results are for me, the ones that stand out the most. But qualifying for the Masters Cup with Julian Knowle and reaching the final was a great achievement as well. We had a good season and it was by far the best year I had as a tennis player.
Do you see yourself staying involved with the sport in any capacity or do you have career ambitions outside of tennis?
I would like to stay in sports, but the obviously choice would be to stay in tennis. I think maybe I will, but I don’t want to make any decisions too early. I just want to go home and have a good summer and relax for a bit.
I’d like to get a feel for what would be fun to do later in the year. I think working with the Swedish Tennis Federation or our best juniors could be good options, or, I would like to maybe use my degree from Pepperdine University and do something with that… maybe work in sports but with a business side to it.
Out of every match you played on tour, which one is the most memorable to you, and why?
The most memorable is the semi-final of the 2008 Olympics, where Thomas and I beat Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra. It was a really long match. I can’t remember but it was maybe 18-16 in the final set. It was a rollercoaster emotionally and winning that in the end and making it to the final. It’s probably the one I remember most. Of course, winning the final at the US Open was an unbelievable feeling too, but that was a 6-4, 6-4 result and I didn’t’ expect that match to go so easily.
What Is Your Favourite…
Doubles Formation? I-Formation, Serving Down The T
Court You Played On? Arthur Ashe Stadium
Doubles Specific Shot? Forehand return down the line
DJ? Deadmau5 (pronounced Dead Mouse)