Mathieu Bids Adieu In Paris
Four-time ATP World Tour titlist Paul-Henri Mathieu has played his final singles match. The 35-year-old Frenchman announced his retirement on Sunday, following his defeat to Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-4 in the final round of qualifying at the Rolex Paris Masters.
Mathieu turned professional in 1999 and reached a career-high of No. 12 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in 2008.
“I knew that when I started the year it was going to be my last one, because I'm 35 and I've had a lot of injuries. I have a family. When you have one kid you can manage it a little bit, try to make them come. But when you start to have two kids, it's too complicated,” Mathieu said.
“I'm 35. Ten, 15 years ago I would have never thought I would have played that late. I'm lucky playing until this age. I think it's time. One year or more is not going to change anything for me, and I want to spend time with the family.”
Mathieu enjoyed his breakout season in 2002, winning his first two ATP World Tour titles in back-to-back weeks. Mathieu won Moscow, beating World No. 4 Marat Safin in the semi-finals, and then headed to Lyon, where he beat Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten for the title.
“It was two crazy weeks. I was young at this age. It was a great moment,” Mathieu said.
Mathieu's peers honoured him as the 2002 ATP World Tour Newcomer of the Year. “It was a big year for me,” Mathieu said.
Five years later the right-hander would double his title haul, again winning two titles in the same season – in Gstaad and Casablanca, both on clay. The third and fourth titles of his career would help him ascend to his career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 12 in April 2008. Mathieu finished 4-6 in ATP World Tour title matches.
“It's difficult to feel when you are in the peak of the career. You always hope for more. When you're 12 I was hoping for 10, and when you're 10 you hope for 5. It never ends I think,” Mathieu said.
Injuries hobbled Mathieu throughout his career, but never more so than from 2010-12. He missed 14 months because of an injury to his left knee that required surgery.
Mathieu said he may stay involved in the tennis industry but for the immediate future, he plans to spend more time with his wife, Quiterie, and their two children, Gabriel, 5, and Ines, who is seven months old.
The Frenchman isn't finished with tour-level action just yet. He will play doubles at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Paris, partnering countryman Benoit Paire.